published Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Chattanooga employees ask City Council for better pay hike

Dozens of city employees filled the Chattanooga City Council chambers tonight to ask for more pay.

They wore stickers that read: “We need a raise.”

The local chapter of the Service Employees International Union organized the show of support for better pay and a message to Mayor Andy Berke that his proposed 1.5 percent raise for employees in next year’s budget is not enough.

Instead, the public service workers said they need to be paid on average a higher amount. Some argued for a .50 cent-per-hour increase.

Berke’s spokeswoman Lacie Stone said that the city’s Human Resources department is evaluating pay issues for general employees.

“It’s a complex issue that requires a strategic approach to ensure fairness and equity across the board,” Stone said.

In other business, council members:

• Approved a 10-year tax break to French auto supplier, Plastic Omnium Auto Exterior. The company plans to supply bumpers and fender parts for the Volkswagen Passat sedan. The supplier will still have to pay the school portion of the property tax levy and the city and county taxes in gradual amounts over the next 10 years. If approved by the Hamilton County Commission Wednesday, the company will purchase a 27-acre tract of land at Enterprise South — that the county and city jointly own — for $1.4 million.

• Authorized the Chattanooga Police Department to purchase an electronic citation system for police officers for handheld equipment. The contract with Brazos Technology is for five years and costs $1.5 million.

• Approved a construction project of nearly $300,000 to improve the Shepherd Youth and Family Development Center’s playground.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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