The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Raises for some City Hall top dogs are not AIG-like bonuses in tough times; they’re ‘reorganizational improvements’ to achieve ‘internal pay equity’

In City Hall, Jim Prosser on March 31, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Calls had been made.

Comparisons were being drawn both by employees in city government and skeptics outside of city government.

Why, the question was, are a few top city employees getting hefty pay hikes even as the 400 or so city employees not represented by bargaining units are seeing their typical annual longevity pay increase eliminated for the budget year beginning July 1.

Isn’t it, callers suggested, kind of a little like the American International Group executives who pocketed million-dollar bonuses even as the economy had soured and the federal government repeatedly had bailed the insurance company out to the tune of tens of billions of dollars?

Apparently, comments and questions similar to this settled in at City Hall, from where late Tuesday afternoon a press release emerged to explain salary increases for three of the city’s eight department directors.

Conni Huber, the city’s human resources director, has received a $13,208 raise, bringing her annual salary to $96,720. That’s a 15.8 percent raise.

Christine Butterfield, director of the Department of Community Development, has received a $10,150 pay hike bringing her salary to $109,304. That’s a 10.2 percent increase.

Pat Ball, the city’s utilities director, has received a $3,057 raise, bringing his salary to $126,588. That’s a 2.5 percent raise.

City Manager Jim Prosser said the salary adjustments were done to establish “internal pay equity” among the city’s eight department directors.

The other directors’ salaries remain the same:

Dave Elgin, public works, and Police Chief Greg Graham earn what Ball now earns, $126,588 a year.

Casey Drew, finance director, and Julie Sina, parks and recreation director, earn what Butterfield now earns, $109,304 a year.

Fire Chief Steve Havlik earns $114,774 a year.

In Tuesday’s news release, Prosser said his staff surveyed the compensation rates of department heads in 23 cities to see where the city of Cedar Rapids fit. Only Elgin’s salary is higher than the median salary of like positions in the 23 other cities.

According to the city’s data:

Ball makes $4,119 less than the median salary for utilities directors.

Butterfield makes $16,292 less than the median salary for development directors.

Drew makes $19,696 less than the median salary for finance directors.

Elgin makes $992 more than the median salary for public works directors.

Graham makes $2,864 less than the median salary for police chiefs.

Havlik makes $$14,226 less than the median salary for fire chiefs.

Huber makes $27,924 less than the median salary for human resources directors.

Sina makes $17,994 less than the median salary for parks/recreation directors.

Prosser noted that the city’s proposed new budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will not include longevity pay increases for these eight department directors just as it won’t for the 400 or so other city employees eligible for them and not represented by a bargaining unit.

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  1. Well,so miuch for this City Council saving the city any money.We could use those hefty raises for something else.They say that money is tight and we have to cut services,or up fees to make ends meet and then they hit us with these EXTREME raises.Next thing you know,Prosser will say that ALL higher up city employees should have a limousine and driver at their disposal,plus that it may not be a bad idea to hire servants for all the Council Members.Where is this excessive spending going to end.
    Here’s an idea,come election time let’s get rid of all the Council members who will be up for election,then ship Mr.Prosser to some other state and get people in here who will do what the new form of City Government was suppose to do,SAVE THE CITY MONEY BY CURTAILING EXCESSIVE SPENDING AND SALARIES.Come people,get with the program.
    Note to the Gazette.In line with these raises,I think Rick Smith should be making $300,000 a year.If we have to Rick,we’ll get the city to hire you and pay you that much to start.

  2. were benefits also figured into the study ? Cr employees have one of the best benefits packages available anywhere. i cant believe a head of HR is making $96,720… that’s pretty extreme.

  3. Median salary? By definition this would include cities as large as Chicago and as small as Walford?

    I could say quite a bit more here, but let me just say this, most private sector places of employment are not giving pay raises, and especially most flood affected ones.

  4. SO typical of the city.

  5. Time to get the broom and sweep this city council out along with Prosser. Only then will this city be able to get good people in as department directors. Havlik and Graham are top notch, but Ball, Sina, Huber and Drew must go.

  6. Are those the same Butterfield and Sina that cause disruptions at City Council meetings by having side conversations, poking fun at people, and laughing, like a couple of junior-high students?

    Good thing Prosser called it “internal pay equity”, because these certainly aren’t merit raises.

    Maybe to fix the “internal pay equity”, some of the other directors should have taken pay cuts instead…

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