Cost-of-living raises for all merit system employees with the city will go into effect starting Saturday, Mobile County Personnel Director Liana Barnett confirmed Thursday morning.
The Personnel Board on Tuesday, May 21 approved the raises for more than 2,000 city employees hired through the merit system, following approval of a budget amendment by the City Council the previous week.
Barnett confirmed the Personnel Board received a request to place the raises on its agenda from the city’s appointing authority, which in most cases is the mayor’s office. Like other cost-of-living adjustments, Barnett said, the raises will go into effect at the start of the next pay period, which is Saturday in this case. She said she didn’t immediately have information on when the request was made.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson had previously threatened to veto the budget amendment because councilors had removed his appointed, or non-merit employees, from those receiving the raises. Stimpson told reporters he didn’t believe the council had the legal authority to change a budget amendment outside of normal budget negotiations.
It’s unclear at this time if Stimpson has changed his mind about the raises. Administration officials have not yet commented on the situation. Lagniappe contacted the mayor’s office Tuesday afternoon for comment on the matter, but has received no comment back.
In a statement, Council Vice President Levon Manzie said Stimpson’s apparent change of course is good for employees.
“We are very pleased the mayor has reversed course and is moving forward with the raises for our employees,” he wrote in a statement. “These folks are the backbone of our city and this is a long overdue and much deserved increase.”
The issue with the raises was the latest in continued fallout over a disagreement about the balance of power between the two branches of municipal government. The larger issues over which branch has the authority to contract with employees resulted in a lawsuit filed by Stimpson in December and has been in slow-moving mediation since.
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