Farmington council takes control of raisesFrom now on, city of Farmington employees will not receive significant raises or promotions without the Farmington City Council’s approval. On Monday, council members approved changes to the city code that regulates the powers, duties and limitations of the city administrator.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
From now on, city of Farmington employees will not receive significant raises or promotions without the Farmington City Council’s approval.
On Monday, council members approved changes to the city code that regulates the powers, duties and limitations of the city administrator. In doing so, council members have now given themselves a say in staff promotions, changes to job titles and other compensation for city employees.
The change in the city code comes after an investigation was conducted to determine whether certain city employees received undue raises. The investigation revealed there were no inappropriate steps taken to give those employees raises; rather. The raises were given by the city administrator, or, in some instances, the interim city administrator. That was allowed under city code.
The code, as it was written, dates back to March, 1997, when John Erar was city administrator. It gave the city administrator the title of personnel officer, and with that, the authority to make salary increases without the explicit approval of the city council. Under the previous city code, the city administrator only had to seek approval for the hiring and firing of employees.
The new language added this week reels in some of the city administrator’s authority as personnel officer. Not only does McKnight now have to get approval for the hiring and dismissal of employees, the new language requires him to present all “promotions, changes to job titles, and changes to employee compensation adjustments, other than cost of living adjustments and step increases” to the city council for approval.
The changes to the city code are not a big deal to McKnight. In his own training as city administrator, McKnight has developed the personal policy of running such decisions before the elected officials who employ him, as a professional standard.
“It’s the way I was raised in other jobs,” McKnight said. “I would do it anyway. This way, there’s a paper trail for those people 20 years from now, who are trying to figure out what we did and why we did it.”
McKnight worked with city attorney Joel Jamnik to come up with the language.
Council member Julie May questioned what kind of input council would have on a promotion or pay increase. She wanted to know whether the proposed increases would come before council for discussion, or if McKnight would simply include the information in a memo on a council meeting consent agenda.
“I don’t want to just see it on the consent agenda and rubber-stamp it,” May said.