Pelham approves one-time bonuses for retired city employees

The Pelham City Council approved a one-time bonus for former city employees during an Aug. 26 special-called City Council meeting. (File)

The Pelham City Council approved a one-time bonus for former city employees during an Aug. 26 special-called City Council meeting. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Pelham City Council approved a one-time bonus for some city retirees during an Aug. 26 special-called City Council meeting.

City employees who retired before Oct. 1, 2013, will receive a one-time bonus of between $300 and $600. The one-time bonus will impact “around 60 some odd retirees,” Department of Human Resources Director Janice Parks explained during the meeting.

The total lump sum of $39,410 to fund the bonuses will be paid out by Retirement Systems of Alabama in October, according to a bill passed by the Alabama Legislature and approved by Governor Robert Bentley on April 10. The bill allows municipalities participating in the RSA to fund one-time bonuses for their retirees.

Pelham will be required to repay the RSA the total $39,410 beginning in October 2015, impacting the fiscal year 2016 budget.

The Pelham City Council is currently working on the fiscal year 2015 budget. Both Councilwoman Beth McMillan and Council President Rick Hayes expressed concern regarding the cost of the one-time bonus and the impact on the budget.

“My concern is, if we’re making this decision based on this budget now, would we be willing to give up books or a breathing apparatus?” McMillan said, noting granting the $39,410 lump sum for bonuses would require cuts in spending in other areas.

“I think this is something we do,” Hayes said. “But, I’m very cautious of what it means going forward.”

“I think this is a good time to do something to help our former employees,” Councilman Maurice Mercer said in support of the one-time bonuses.

The Pelham City Council approved the one-time bonuses 4-1, with McMillan voting against, joining Shelby County, Hoover and neighboring Alabaster, who approved the one-time bonuses in mid-July.