Thursday night’s Anderson City Council meeting brought approval of the first and second readings for non-union city employee salary increases for 2007.

All except the city clerk position requested a 3 percent increase. The city clerk position would increase $4,998, or 10 percent, if the ordinance passes the third reading at the September meeting.

Two positions — one for assistant director of personnel and office manager for community development — were removed from the ordinance because they were new jobs.

During July’s City Council meeting, Erich Ewald, human resources director, and Councilman Ollie Dixon, D-4th District, got into a heated debate over the reclassification of both new positions. The City Council did not approve either reclassification, which would have given both positions more pay.

Ewald and Dixon went at it again Thursday, when Dixon accused Ewald of trying to sneak into the ordinance those previously defeated positions.

“These are the same two ordinances we voted down last month,” Dixon said.

Councilman Rick Muir also objected to the two positions. “It’s an insult to our intelligence that we would not catch it,” Muir said.

Ewald said the latest ordinance included the positions approved by the personnel board, but without the previously requested pay increases.

Several council members objected when they realized that the personnel position wasn’t posted for any interested person to apply, but was immediately filled by Wayne Huffman.

David Happe, city attorney, said the confusion is partly because of the two-step process for creating positions.

The first, Happe said, is the City Council’s approval of pay increases. The second would be budget approval for each department, which would then determine how many employees could be in each department.

“To increase the size of a department is in the budget,” Happe said.

Ewald said he wanted to create the position of assistant director so that person would have negotiating authority in his absence. The Board of Public Works appointed Ewald as the city’s chief union negotiator.

Previously, the director of human resources was not city contract negotiator, thus the need for a No. 2 spot in the department.

However, the City Council saw the addition of assistant director and the secretarial position as a loophole around the process.

Happe said that was not the case.

A new position would leave one unfilled. But, that unfilled position would never be filled because the budget would not allow for it, Happe explained.

Budget hearings start next week.

This Week's Circulars