Portage council delays tweaks to park employee salaries

2013-08-06T21:00:00Z 2013-08-06T23:19:06Z Portage council delays tweaks to park employee salariesJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The City Council delayed changing salaries for two park department employees Tuesday.

Councilman Ted Uzelac voted against suspending the rules to allow the changes, saying he had not received sufficient information to justify the changes. The issue will go back to the council at its September meeting.

Parks Superintendent Jenny Orsburn said she believed she had provided sufficient information to allow the council to make a decision.

Orsburn proposed raising the salary for the recreational programs coordinator to $40,000 per year from $38,500. The Park Board approved the change because members think the position has the same responsibilities as the facilities maintenance supervisor and sports coordinator, who receive higher salaries.

The second change would create a food and beverage manager. Money for the position would be paid from nonreverting funds, not the park's general fund, Orsburn said. The department currently can pay a maximum of $10 per hour to part-time personnel. The change would increase that pay for the part-time position up to $15 per hour, Orsburn said.

Orsburn said she and human resources adviser Mitch Ripley would decide how much the person would receive, based on experience. She said the 30-hour part-time position was necessary to oversee the bar and concessions operations at the parks.

Ripley said the changes would not add any personnel to the department. Instead, an employee's title would be changed to better describe responsibilities and increase potential wages to compensate for those responsibilities.

In addition to not having enough information, Uzelac and Councilwoman Liz Modesto questioned giving increases.

"I have a problem with creating a new position, whether or not it is from revenue," Modesto said.

"We have got a city full of employees who haven't seen a raise in years," Uzelac said. "If the park department can fund their employees, maybe they should be giving back money to the general fund."

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