Chattanooga should stick to merited pay raises

Chattanooga should stick to merited pay raises

June 26th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

During budget discussions involving the City Council and Mayor Ron Littlefield, a few statements were made that are very important, especially during a time of tight budgets.

As questions arose about the manner in which to distribute a $3 million pool of funding designated for pay raises, Littlefield's recommendations to the council included these remarks: "When you get down to it, there are only about 100 people out of all of these ... sworn employees who have not received anything. And the hard thing to say -- and it is a fact -- is most of them have not received anything because they haven't done anything. If you have a career ladder, it's incumbent upon those who have a career ladder to climb the ladder, step up on the ladder."

Littlefield noted in what he termed his "fair and balanced" budget presentation that any city employee who had not received some form of a pay increase since 2008 had not done anything to merit a raise. His approach did not include raises for any who had not pursued increases through career ladder programs, graduated from academy training programs or received corrections because of pay anomalies since 2008.

The City Council, deliberating over these raises, most certainly should consider those who merit a pay raise versus those who chose not to pursue options for professional development.

No worker at any local company will see a pay increase without improvement and personal effort. As stewards of our tax dollars, City Council members have to understand that tough economic times don't permit unearned pay increases.