HAMMOND | A proposed $4,000 raise for a court bailiff has garnered criticism from a City Council member, who argued approving the increase would set a precedent.
Hammond City Judge Jeffrey Harkin asked the council to approve the raise, along with tweaking salaries of three probation officers to meet state standards.
“It's something that I got in my budget, and I think it's a fair thing to bring him up,” Harkin said. “He's the only full-time employee that's earning in the 20s.”
Councilman Bob Markovich, D-at large, questioned if the council could legally give someone a raise in the middle of the year.
"I don't think it's right that you are going to go ahead and say we're going to give a person a raise, then have other people who didn't get a 10 percent raise,” Markovich said.
City Controller Bobby Lendi said the council legally could give the raise through a change in the ordinance that sets salaries for the department. Lendi said the adjustments requested by Harkin do not require an additional appropriation.
Harkin said circumstances in his department are unique to allow for the raise.
“With the number of people leaving the department and new people coming in, it creates a whole different dynamic,” Harkin said. “It frees up salary money we might have allocated to this person.”
The City Council approved the increase for the bailiff along with changes to probation officer salaries at the meeting. Harkin said the salaries originally approved by the council for the probation officers were incorrect.
He explained the city must meet minimum salaries for those positions to obtain free training in Indianapolis.