Seven employees at the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency who are not eligible for overtime pay will be getting an average of $3,000 in extra pay each for extra work performed during June’s historic flood.
In this regard, the agency is following the city of Cedar Rapids, which has decided to pay 167 similarly situated employees for extra work performed during the flood and the recovery. The city expects the extra pay will reach to a total of $400,000 for those employees.
On Tuesday, the Solid Waste Agency Board voted unanimously to approve the extra pay for the seven agency employees. Karmin McShane, the agency’s executive director, asked for the funds. One of the seven presumably is her.
She told the agency’s board that she had consulted with the agency’s attorney, Ivan Webber of Des Moines, who said the extra pay was allowed as “uncompensated work outside of normal duty.”
Likewise, the Cedar Rapids City Council also had voted unanimously on the matter for city employees a couple weeks ago.
On Tuesday, Mayor Kay Halloran, a Solid Waste Agency board member, asked McShane if she wanted “to get into as much controversy as we did?” She was referring to some who had criticized the City Council’s earlier move.
Justin Shields, a Cedar Rapids council member and a Solid Waste Agency board member, said the extra pay was entirely called for.
“We were in an extreme emergency,” Shields said in explaining his reasoning for approving extra pay for city employees — many of them management employees — not eligible for overtime pay. He said he supposed the city could have gone out and hired more people, but instead the employees on staff agreed to do the work. The employees not eligible for overtime worked without expecting extra pay, he said. They showed loyalty, and so should the city and the Solid Waste Agency, Shields said.
Jim Houser, a Linn County supervisor on the agency board, noted that the county decided not to pay its managers more because the county did not have a policy in place to address such extra pay. McShane said the agency didn’t have a policy either.
Houser added that county employees not eligible for overtime will have the ability to get ”adequate time off” for the extra time they put in.
Pat Ball, the city of Cedar Rapids’ utilities director and agency board member, said the city gave that approach some thought, but concluded that those ineligible for overtime who worked so many hours as a result of the flood are still needed and wouldn’t have time to take extra time off work.
The city of Cedar Rapids has estimated that it paid $1.5 million to overtime-eligible employees during the flood and in the early recovery from it.