Director Jim Armstrong, athletics coordinator Steve Masters and Human Resources and Accounting coordinator Pam Pearson will be paid an annual rate of $62,000, $38,500 and $32,000, respectively, effective with the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.
The raises reflect increases of $5,200, $8,000 and $4,900 for the three positions. Other full-time Parks and Recreation employees will receive 3 percent raises.
Board president Daren Holland and members Karen Elston and Pam Landers voted in favor of the raises. Ray Holmes voted against. Board members Joe Hogan, Fran Vincent and Scott Roberson were not present at the meeting.
The raises were initially discussed and approved during an executive session at an Aug. 13 meeting where the board stated it would be discussing the good name and character of an individual. However, while it did address the job performance of an employee, Holland said the board also discussed and voted on the raises.
Holmes was the only board member not present for that meeting.
According to the Open Meetings Act, employee salaries, compensation and benefits cannot be discussed in an executive session and no votes can be taken in private.
When asked at Monday’s meeting if the vote was taken during the executive session, Holland asked for a motion for a public vote.
Holmes, the only board member to vote against the raises, said he did so because he felt some of them were excessive.
“I thought they should have been looked at individually as opposed to a whole group,” he said.
Holmes also expressed concern about a phone call he received from Holland about two weeks prior to the board’s August meeting in which he felt he was being asked to vote on the raises. Elston said each board member did receive a call, but was never asked for a vote.
“He asked each member what we thought about it,” Elston said. “He was asking for an opinion, not a vote, and he said we would make a final decision at the next board meeting.”
Holland said it has been four years since any Parks and Recreation employee received a raise, and their pay rates were much lower than other cities of comparable size.
“We were well below average,” Holland said. “We’re still nowhere near the highest, but now we’re not at the bottom either. We are on track financially, and Jim has continued to manage the budget while operating on a shoestring staff, so we felt it was well deserved.”
Landers said the raises were necessary to stay competitive with other cities.
“We didn’t want to lose our athletic coordinator to another area, and our Human Resources coordinator has earned a degree since she started here,” Landers said. “We decided this is something we could handle in our current budget.”
Armstrong said the department recently freed up $1,500 a month that was being used to pay off four Ford work trucks over the last four years. That money will now be used to afford the raises.
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Announced that Parks and Recreation will be removing the BMX bike track at Noble Park within the next few weeks and will use the dirt from the track to fill holes at various sports fields.
• Approved revenues, payrolls and expenses for August.
• Announced it will have a flu shot seminar Sept. 20, flu shots on Oct. 11 and a Pinhoti Trailhead dedication ceremony Sept. 28.
For more information, contact Parks and Recreation at 256-249-8561.
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com.