Pelham extends Mercer pay plan through April 1

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham City Council voted unanimously to change the repeal date of the city’s current pay plan from Feb. 1 to April 1 to give council members time to review a proposed new city pay plan.

In December 2012, the council voted to repeal the 18-grade, 18-step Mercer city employee pay scale, which was narrowly approved by the previous City Council in October 2011.

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters said extending the Mercer pay plan through April 1 will give the council time to act on a new proposed pay plan he presented to city employees on Jan. 17.

Waters said the Mercer pay plan is not compliant with the Pelham civil service law because it, among other things, does not apply the same amount of compensation to all positions in the same class. Waters said the Mercer plan served as the basis for a lawsuit brought against the city by several city employees in early 2012.

If passed, Waters said the new pay plan will save the city $970,723 through eliminated positions, and said the cost of adding new positions, implementing the new pay plan, funding a recent employee vacation buy-back plan and paying to settle the 2012 lawsuit will total about $853,138.

Waters previously said every current city employee will receive a raise if the new pay plan is adopted.

The proposed pay plan will go before the Pelham Personnel Board during its Jan. 23 meeting, and could go before the council as early as Feb. 4, Waters said previously.

If approved by the council, the new pay plan will go into effect on April 1.

In other business, the council:

-Voted to appoint Richard Barnes as the city’s municipal judge, effective Feb. 1. Barnes will make a $39,361.20 annual salary.

-Voted to appoint Charlie Waldrep as the city’s municipal prosecutor, effective Feb. 1. Waldrep will make a $39,361.20 annual salary.

The council also appointed Frank G. Alfano and Brandon Prince to serve as assistant municipal prosecutors. The assistant prosecutors will serve in Waldrep’s absence, and will be compensated out of Waldrep’s salary “with no additional expense to the city of Pelham,” according to the resolution.