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Huntsville City Council passes new salary schedule for city employees and the mayor

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  Some city employees will see a higher salary later this year.  Huntsville hasn't altered its salary schedule since 1989 and city administrators say it's overdue.

The Huntsville City Council passed a new salary schedule for city employees Thursday. The new salary schedule is intended to reward employees who have been with the city for a long time.

The council also passed a resolution giving the future mayor of Huntsville a 32% pay increase to $175,926 a year. The resolution passed with a 3-2 vote without an amendment that would have given future city council members a raise. On Friday morning, Battle said while he appreciated the intent of the City Council, he intended to veto the mayoral pay raise.

"When I first ran for Mayor in 2008, I knew what the salary was," said Battle. "And I have been satisfied with what the people of Huntsville have paid me. I have never asked for a raise and have chosen to place my financial focus on my department heads and employees."

Battle would need to be re-elected in order to see the pay increase.

City Administrator John Hamilton says the new plan encourages employees to remain with the city longer, and rewards those who have stayed.

"Absolutely, we want our employees to stay as long as they are able to do their jobs and as long as they want to do their jobs," said Hamilton.

Under the new plan, employees will be provided with a more equitable salary progression for all grades - and ensure that every time an employee is promoted, they get a raise.

Hamilton says of the 2,061 city employees, a quarter of them are topped out under the current salary plan. The plan will set salary increases for grades 2 to 10 at 3 percent, 2 percent for steps 11-18, and 1.5 percent for steps 19-25.

"If you approve this plan -- on October 7th, you'll have exactly zero employees that are topped out.  You'll have multiple years without a single employee being topped out," said Hamilton.

A downside of the new plan, as some city employees voiced at the meeting, is smaller raises for employees early in their career.

"These guys deserve more," said Hunter Robertson. "We want to be the star of Alabama, this is who you are looking at. These young people in here are going to impacted by this for years and it's just not right."

Hamilton says the plan will just be the new baseline salary. Cost of living adjustments can be offered to certain grades of employees in the future and he adds that Mayor Tommy Battle's 2020 budget plan that will be presented to the city council next month will include an adjustment.

The new pay schedule will take effect on October 7, which begins the first full pay period of the 2020 fiscal year.

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