Pelham approves one-time bonus for some city retirees

By Emily Reed / Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – Some retirees from the city of Pelham will receive a one-time bonus from the city of Pelham, after the City Council approved funding for a lump-sum payment on Oct. 2.

According to the resolution passed, the city will provide all funds necessary to the Employees Retirement System, and will cost the city $67,868 with all payments being disbursed to the retirees in December.

The bonuses come after a bill was passed by the Alabama Legislature during the 2017 session allowing employers who participated in the Employees Retirement System to provide a one-time, lump-sum bonus to city employees who retired before May 1 of this year, and who received or are entitled to receive a monthly allowance from the state Employees Retirement System.

During the council’s work session, council member Beth McMillan expressed concern regarding the cost of the one-time bonus and the fact the city has approved similar resolutions in 2007, 2008 and 2014.

“I think this is extremely generous, and I would personally prefer for the money to go somewhere else where more of the city could enjoy it,” McMillan said. “It is a one-time bonus that will get another opportunity to get a one-time bonus.”

Council President Rick Hayes said city officials had researched other cities and while each total was different, Pelham’s overall figure was “competitive.”

McMillan said from 2014 to 2017, the bonuses in Pelham had largely increased.

“If it continues to grow and it becomes an expectation, then we need to be prepared for that to grow,” McMillan said.

The total lump sum city officials paid in 2014 was $39,410 to fund the bonuses.

Council member Ron Scott said he appreciated McMillan bringing the information to the council about the city passing similar resolutions previously, and encouraged the council to be more cautious and make sure the bonus was not becoming an expectation.

Council member Mildred Lanier said the city was in a position to pay the money, and she was thankful for all of the city’s retirees.

“This issue has two sides,” Hayes said. “We have chosen as a city to provide benefits to our employees, but also to our retirees.”

The motion was passed during the council meeting 4-1, with McMillan voting against the measure.