Monroe County 2023 budget notebook: Councilors mull $2K one-time retention bonus

In 2023, Monroe County employees could see a $2,000 quarterly retention bonus, paid out quarterly.

The screen grab from the CATS broadcast links to the video recording, cued up to the start of the discussion about the potential $2,000 one-time bonus.

That’s in addition to the 5-percent COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) that their draft budget already includes.

The working number for the total 2023 Monroe County budget is in the ballpark of $90 million.

Here’s the back-of-the-napkin math some councilors did on Thursday: $2,000 times about 600 employees equals about $1.2 million more.

None of that is certain.

The next steps in the county’s budget process include a public hearing on Oct. 4 and a vote that is set for Oct. 18.

Discussion of the $2,000 retention bonus came on Thursday (Sept. 15), after five nights of budget hearings that stretched across two weeks. Monroe County councilors wrapped up the budget hearings with a discussion of employee compensation. Continue reading “Monroe County 2023 budget notebook: Councilors mull $2K one-time retention bonus”

No salary change for Monroe County commissioners, as added increase fails on 0–5–1 vote by council

On Tuesday night, Monroe county councilors stood by the compensation for the three county commissioners that they had already approved on the last day of November as a part of the 2022 salary ordinance.

The already-adopted salary ordinance for 2022 specifies $48,886 for each of the three commissioners, which is $2,886 more than the amount they were paid in 2021.

Getting support from none of the six councilors present on Tuesday was a request from commissioners to increase their pay to $67,158, to match the compensation for some other elected county officials: assessor, recorder, and treasurer.

Continue reading “No salary change for Monroe County commissioners, as added increase fails on 0–5–1 vote by council”

Monroe County commissioners could get higher pay, but maybe not the $67,158 they think is right

If Monroe County councilors approve some kind of increase to county commissioner compensation before the end of the year, it might not be as much as the commissioners have requested.

That’s the basic picture after about an hour of discussion at the county council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

The already-adopted salary ordinance for 2022 specifies $48,886 for each of the three commissioners, which is $2,886 more than the amount they were paid in 2021.

The commissioners have requested that the 2022 salary ordinance be amended so that their compensation is increased to $67,158, to match the compensation for some other elected county officials: assessor, recorder, and treasurer.

The increase would also bring Monroe County commissioner compensation in line with that of some other comparable counties in the state, which average $64,463 for commissioner pay.

At a work session next week, the Monroe County council will take a vote on the increase, possibly amended to reflect a lower amount than the figure that’s been requested.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councilor Geoff McKim told his county council colleagues that he thinks commissioners are underpaid.

But McKim does not think the right level for commissioner compensation is the full amount they have requested. So at next week’s work session, he’ll be proposing an amendment to the amount. But on Tuesday he was not sure what the exact dollar figure in his amendment would be.

Among the other county councilors on Tuesday, there did not seem to be any discernible support for an increase exactly along the lines that the commissioners are requesting.

A half dozen people spoke during public commentary at Tuesday’s meeting, all in support of increasing the compensation for commissioners, possibly even to a level higher than they have requested.

Continue reading “Monroe County commissioners could get higher pay, but maybe not the $67,158 they think is right”

Bloomington corporation counsel on city council’s police pay resolution: “This is in some ways the council taking over the bargaining process.”

The backdrop of a city council work session on Friday was news that another Bloomington police officer had unexpectedly left the department the day before, following on the heels of a resignation the previous week.

The focus of the work session was to consider a resolution calling for increased police pay, which the council might approve at a special meeting next Wednesday.

Weighing in at the work session against the council’s resolution was the city’s corporation counsel, Philippa Guthrie, who sees it as an intrusion into the collective bargaining process between the administration and the police union.

Guthrie said, “[The resolution] is in some ways the council taking over the bargaining process.” She added, “I’m not positive, but I believe that the $5,000 figure, or whatever else you’ve got in the resolution, would have come from the police union. So in effect, you are bargaining with the police union.”

The $5,000 figure is the amount specified in the resolution as an increase in pay for all sworn officers.

The resolution is sponsored by councilmembers Dave Rollo, Susan Sandberg, and Ron Smith. [Updated on Sept. 8 at 5:32 p.m. In a joint statement released by Bloomington mayor John Hamilton and police chief Mike Diekhoff, they discouraged the idea of re-opening the collective bargaining process. However, Hamilton and Diekhoff supported the idea of increasing the recruitment and retention pool proposed in the 2022 budget from $250,000 to $500,000. The new amount would work out to roughly $5,000 per officer.  Link: Text of 2021-09-08 joint statement]

Continue reading “Bloomington corporation counsel on city council’s police pay resolution: “This is in some ways the council taking over the bargaining process.””

Monroe County commissioners get preliminary OK for $10K salary increase

At their budget work session on Thursday, the third in as many days, Monroe County councilors voted 5–2 to set the salaries for the three county commissioners at $46,000, which is about $10,000 more than they were paid last year.

From the on-screen live spreadsheet used by Monroe County councilors to track their budget revisions during their Sept. 10 work session, which was conducted on the Zoom videoconferencing platform.

It’s about $14,000 less than the figure that commissioners had requested.

Thursday’s vote set the amount that will be included in the advertised budget, which will get a final vote in mid-October.

Procedurally, the councilors voted to reduce the three line items for each of the commissioners in their proposed budget from a requested $60,133 to $46,000.

Commissioners had asked for around $60,000, which would have put them on roughly equal footing with other Monroe County electeds like the auditor, treasurer and recorder. It would have also made their compensation on par with county commissioners in Tippecanoe County. Continue reading “Monroe County commissioners get preliminary OK for $10K salary increase”

Bloomington city council OKs hire of next administrator/attorney at $85K

Without stating at their Wednesday meeting how much they planned to pay him, Bloomington city councilmembers approved the hire of Stephen Lucas as their next administrator/attorney.

rouker lucas IMG_3080 (1)
In this Square Beacon file photo, Stephen Lucas (right) confers with city attorney Mike Rouker during a Bloomington city council meeting.

Lucas is the current deputy to Dan Sherman, who is retiring at the end of July, after around 30 years on the job of administrator/attorney.

Responding to an emailed query from The Square Beacon, Lucas said the job will pay him $85,000.

His current salary for the deputy position is $66,300, he said. Continue reading “Bloomington city council OKs hire of next administrator/attorney at $85K”

Monday’s budget presentations: Ethernet for ITS, salary increase for city council

Monday night kicks off a four-day week of budget presentations in front of Bloomington’s city council. After Mayor John Hamilton’s address scheduled for 6 p.m., the council will hear from Human Resources, City Clerk, Legal, Information and Technology Services, City Council, Controller, and the Office of the Mayor.

R Out Salary Data Bloomington

A couple of highlights include: $350,000 for the replacement of wired Ethernet network; and a proposed 13.5-percent increase for city councilmember salaries, from $16,127 to $18,307.

The proposed 2020 budget of $98.6 million is 36 percent bigger than the last budget approved for Hamilton’s predecessor, in 2016. Of the four basic categories in the budget—personnel, supplies, other services, and capital outlays—the biggest difference between the proposed 2020 budget and the one adopted in 2016 is in capital outlays. The $8.6 million for 2020 is almost three and a half times the $2.5 million in 2016.

For most departments presenting on Monday night, capital outlays are not a big factor. For ITS, however, the 2020 proposal reflects one of the larger capital outlays in the budget: $350,000 for the replacement of wired ethernet network hardware and wireless Wi-Fi network hardware. It’s the same amount budgeted for a Kirkwood Avenue street project.  (The Planning and Transportation Department presents its proposal on Thursday. Jump to a table with 2020 capital outlays, sorted by cost.)

Three departments worth of elected officials will be presenting on Monday—city clerk, mayor, and city council. Such departments are not typically associated with intensive capital outlays. But because the city council directly oversees a fund for sidewalk and traffic calming projects, there’s $324,000 worth of capital outlays in the city council’s 2020 budget associated with that fund.

The city council’s 2020 budget proposal is different from that of the other two elected officials in another way. Instead of the basic 2 percent increase in compensation for non-union employees that underlies the overall budget, the request from the city council is for a 13.5-percent increase.  Continue reading “Monday’s budget presentations: Ethernet for ITS, salary increase for city council”