Mayor Ron Littlefield on Tuesday morning made a push for the administration's recommended pay increase, saying it is the most "fair and balanced" way to dole out some $3 million in employee raises.
To sweeten the pot, he offered to extend $75 per year longevity pay to all fire and police employees who qualify, though he said that would push the total package to $3,275,000.
The Littlefield plan includes $1.3 million to the police department for its career development program, $1.
3 million for a three percent across the board increase to the 1,424 civilian employees and $675,000 for the broadened longevity pay.
However, there remained a split on the City Council on the pay increase issue.
The council on Tuesday night voted 7-2 to approve the budget on first reading. But Carol Berz, who heads the finance committee, said the council could still iron out the pay increase issue prior to the final vote next Tuesday night.
Only Council members Jack Benson and Manny Rico indicated they would go along with the administration's proposal.
Pam Ladd and Deborah Scott said they favored limiting the raises to the $1.3 million for the police and three percent for civilian employees.
Andrae McGary and Peter Murphy said they are for the $1.3 million for police, the longevity pay and 1.5 percent across the board for all employees.
Russell Gilbert and Sally Robinson got to the meeting late and did not offer opinions.
Mayor Littlefield said of his plan, "If you go any other way, it will not be fair and balanced."
He said fire and police "are special and they have special plans and benefits."
The mayor said since 2007 all but about 100 police officers have gotten some form of raises. He said those who didn't chose not to get involved in the career ladder program.
He said fire and police pension benefits are far and above those of civilians. He said the average fire and police pension is $31,190 and the average civilian pension is $14,685.