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Web Exclusive: City Commission votes to give raises to appointees

ALBANY, Ga: -- The Albany City Commission voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve raises for appointees of the commission.

The commission's personnel committee - Commissioners Dorothy Hubbard, Roger Marietta and Tommie Postell - have been researching and deliberating the idea of granting raises to the commission's five appointed members since August 6.

Commissioner Bob Langstaff was the lone dissenter.

Those appointees - City Attorney Nathan Davis, City Clerk Sonja Tolbert, Assistant Clerk Sissy Kelly, Magistrate Judge Willie Weaver and Associate Judge Ralph Scoccimaro - did not receive a salary adjustment when other city employees did when part one of pay study was implemented two years ago, Hubbard said.

According to records obtained through a previous open records request for city pay records, the last time any of the appointees received a pay increase was in 2008, when the appointees - except for Weaver --- received a cost-of-living adjustment to coincide with a similar COLA for city employees.

Tolbert and Kelly received a full salary increase since 2007. Davis has received only COLAs since he was hired in 2003, according to the documents.

As reported in a previous Herald article, city officials contend that the pay increases coincide with the implementation of the pay study which was initially undertaken in 2006 but wasn't actually put into place until July 1, 2009. Phase 1 of that plan adjusted the salaries of 160 employees who, the study showed, were not being paid at the recognized minimum pay levels for their positions.

The second phase of the pay study for city employees is budgeted to be implemented in January 2011 at a cost of $450,000 and will adjust the pay of roughly 400 employees to reflect their experience, education level and time on the job, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith told the Herald in an August 6, story.

Commissioner Tommie Postell, who was not at Tuesday's meeting, said back in August that the salary adjustments for appointees were based largely on a need to bring their pay in line with their counterparts who work for the Dougherty County Commission.

In total, the sum of all of the projected raises, which are to be retroactive starting at the beginning of the fiscal year, which was July 1, is more than $22,000.

Exact figures weren't available as of the Herald's press time Tuesday night, but at their August meeting the committee proposed giving Davis a $4,160 increase, a $4,525 increase for Tolbert and a $2,760 increase for Kelly. Figures for Weaver and Scoccimaro hadn't been calculated as of that meeting.