City Council OK's pay raises for five city staff members

Having to perform more work merits more pay. At least that was the thinking of the Sunnyside City Council at last night's meeting.

Council members approved a pay increase last night for five staff members who are unrepresented by bargaining units. The pay increases were granted by Council due to the increased workload the five staff members have incurred in recent weeks.

Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler said at last night's meeting that the city has had to deal with filling the void of five positions left vacant since last October, which means an increased workload for other staff members. Kunkler said in the past few months alone, city staff has had to deal with an increase in work with the resignations by the city manager and community development planner. Staff has also seen an increased workload with the elimination of the public works department director position.

"In my view these jobs are being performed well," said Kunkler.

Council approved pay increases for City Engineer Jim Bridges, Finance Director Bud Schatz, Public Works Superintendent Ken Ott, Executive Assistant Judy Essary and Pam Sandifer, who is now in charge of the administrative functions for the planning department.

Bridges received the most significant pay increase of any of the staff members, 10 percent. Bridges will see his pay increase from $5,255 per month to $5,794 per month. Kunkler cited the need for the pay increase because of the significant amount of work Bridges has taken on. Bridges will now serve in a supervisory role in the planning and community development department, which includes providing staff assistance to the Sunnyside Planning Commission.

Ott will see a pay increase of 5 percent. His monthly pay will go from $5,006 to $5,255. Kunkler said Ott has had to pick up an increased workload in his department with the elimination of the position of public works director. Ott's duties include reviewing development plans and managing city utility infrastructure.

Essary's pay will go from $3,227 per month to $3,388, or a 5 percent pay increase. Kunkler said Essary has had to assume a lot of the duties Sandifer used to do before being transferred to the planning department. Essary serves as the executive assistant to the city manager, but is also in charge of the legal department, preparing files for the city's municipal court,

Sandifer will also see her pay rise, from $2,927 to $3,074 per month. Kunkler explained that Sandifer performs a number of duties in the planning department, including being in charge of the permit processing. Sandifer will also be placed in charge of managing the planning department office.

Schatz will see a 5 percent pay increase. His monthly pay will rise from $6,084 to $6,388. Kunkler said Schatz will be doing a lot more duties involving consolidation of city staff needs. Kunkler also said that Schatz has played an important part in the transition city staff has been experiencing.

Councilman Don Vlieger voiced his support of the pay increases, saying it is nice to be stopped by citizens who have nothing but compliments for city staff. Many other councilmen echoed Vlieger's sentiments.

All together, the pay increases will cost city taxpayers $18,358 annually.


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