East Chicago City Council calls special session on municipal employee pay

2012-10-23T22:00:00Z 2012-10-23T22:42:16Z East Chicago City Council calls special session on municipal employee paySteve Zabroski Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
October 23, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

EAST CHICAGO | No pay cuts for municipal employees are planned for next year, but the City Council on Monday postponed voting on a proposed salary ordinance for a few days.

Up against a state-mandated Nov. 1 deadline for adoption, council members called for a special meeting Thursday to discuss the ordinance. If the council doesn't meet the deadline, all job titles, wages and salaries in 2013 automatically will remain the same as this year.

The council approved a similar, though nonbinding, salary ordinance earlier this year after rejecting the same proposal last fall because of concerns about changes to employees' titles.

Some two dozen job titles were eliminated in the structure proposed by Mayor Anthony Copeland in 2011, with previous multitiered pay levels replaced with "low" and "high" salary and wage ranges that vary by about 20 percent.

Despite administration assurances that no employee would lose income through the modernized job classification system, a majority of the council remained unconvinced, and city staffing charts remained the same as in 2010.

While pay amounts would remain the same for 2013, changes to some job titles are being worked on by the city controller's office, council financial adviser Karl Cender said Monday.

Late last week Copeland announced a reorganization of the city's public works hierarchy that merges the Streets and Solid Waste Departments, combines storm water and sewer collection operations, and joins Park Department maintenance and field employees into a single unit.

"Presently, we can have supervisors from up to three departments overseeing the work at one job site," Copeland said in a news release. "The new plan is clearly a more efficient approach that eliminates duplication."

Implementation of the reorganization would be conducted over the next three or four months, Copeland said.

The council is scheduled to take up the issue of employee wages and salaries in a special session at 2 p.m. Thursday in City Hall, immediately following its regular weekly noon finance committee workshop.

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