Mayor Sandy Stimpson, center, poses for a photo with employees Lee Bush, Clarence Mack, Tyrone Holley, Mayor Stimpson, James Gardner, Larry Harris and Jamaal Hawthorn behind a trailer the city garage workers built to save the city money. Stimpson gave the employees a $250 bonus for the work.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson, center, poses for a photo with employees Lee Bush, Clarence Mack, Tyrone Holley, Mayor Stimpson, James Gardner, Larry Harris and Jamaal Hawthorn behind a trailer the city garage workers built to save the city money. Stimpson gave the employees a $250 bonus for the work.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson made good on a campaign promise Wednesday afternoon by doling out the first of a series of employee bonuses, as part of the administration’s “Pay it Forward” program.

The first recipients of the bonus program were seven city garage employees, who saved the city about $6,000 by building a trailer for parade barricades, Stimpson said during a press conference at the garage on Gayle Street.

“If we’re going to transform the city, it will be through the hard work and ingenuity of our employees,” Stimpson said.

The money for the bonuses comes from $50,000 Stimpson said he’d take from his own salary each year to fund the program. This announcement marks the first for the program and Stimpson told media members to expect more than $50,000 to be available next year.

The seven employees who received bonuses of $250 each were Lee Bush, Clarence Mack, Tyrone Holley, James Gardner, Larry Harris and Jamaal Hawthorn. Stimpson and Councilman Joel Daves presented the employees with certificates of appreciation. The bonuses will be added to their next paychecks, Chief of Staff Colby Cooper said.

“The foundation of my administration is built on sound financial management, improved public service and investment in our most valuable asset – our employees,” Stimpson said. “The Pay It Forward program is designed to reinforce that foundation and develop innovative solutions to everyday problems.”

Harris, a welding supervisor at the garage, said the trailer was made from scratch, after the group studied how a similar trailer was made. He said they were given permission to buy the supplies after discovering they could do the work cheaper than the cost of a new trailer.

Stimpson said the city had contemplated buying a new trailer for $9,000, but the employees were able to build one for about $3,000. Harris said there are currently two trailers in use right now and the group plans to build a third.