Stark suggests ‘ham or turkey’ instead of $100 cash for city employees;
Mayor, council clash over employee pay raises during rescheduled city meeting; Stark, Schaeffer very upset…
LOUISA, Ky. — Due to lack of a quorum Tuesday night the Louisa City Council held a special meeting tonight (Thursday evening) where they discussed a one time pay raise for the city workers. Tempers flared several times in what one city council member called the “most unprofessional council meeting I have ever seen.”
After the heated exchanges, Council member Lisa Schaefer apologized to the audience members that included mostly city workers, for the way the meeting was conducted. Schaefer was referring to rude comments made between Mayor Teddy Preston and council member Brad Stark among other things that she considered to be unprofessional.
After Schaefer apologized, council member Rita Rose said she, too, was tired of all the bickering and said she was tempted to resign. “I have been in this for seven years and I’m sick of all the bickering and name calling, I am thinking of resigning.”
Most years in December the council has voted to give the workers a $100 one time raise on their paychecks for a sort of Christmas bonus, however last year there was no funds in the budget so the workers were given a day off with pay instead.
This year, however, after a motion to give them $100 was made by Tom Parsons, it died for lack of second. Schaefer said she didn’t even hear the motion and so another motion was quickly made by Stark to give them a $50 one time raise even after it was noted by Stark that the $50 raise after taxes would be hardly a raise.
Council member Parsons voted ‘nay’ to the $50 and was thanked by a city worker for his endeavor to give them more than that.
“I realize that after taxes are taken out the raise wont be much so maybe the workers would prefer a ham or turkey,” Starks suggested.
The mayor rebutted by saying that the workers have said in the past that they would rather have the money. Stark then asked Louisa City Clerk Kathy Compton to find a place to take the raise from the budget.
Compton said she wasn’t cutting anyone’s budget and it wasn’t her place to do so.
“It is my job to bring the council the information and you decide where cuts can be made,” Compton said.
Stark explained that the cut would only be temporary and could be reimbursed once tax money was received.
At this point tempers began to flare when the mayor accused the council of being a one man show.
“In the past when we were able we always gave the workers a $100 raise but one person runs the council so I guess it doesn’t matter,” the Mayor said.
Stark replied back that he didn’t agree with the statement the mayor made and told him to “knock it off.”
The mayor explained in heated voice that he believed that Stark felt like he always had to be “head chief.”
At that time the mayor called for silence and Louisa City Clerk Kathy Compton asked if the meeting could proceed.
The heated discussion continued after the meeting was adjourned, however, during the meeting the vote passed to give the employees a one time raise of $50 and if the water and sewage side had it in their budget, those employees would also get the one time raise.
Also during the meeting the council passed a second reading of an employee raise that has been hanging in limbo for 24 weeks.
In the July meeting the council voted in favor of the first reading of a motion to give city workers a 2% raise, but the employees have been waiting for the second reading since. It is questionable whether they will get back pay for the 24 weeks that their paychecks did not reflect the 2% raise.
The council passed the first reading of establishing the water and sewer department budget last night,”as long as changes have been made that the council asked for during the November meeting.”
The same goes for raises for employees of the water and sewer department for the $50 one time raise this month.
The council also voted for a resolution approving financing terms for a new garbage truck.
Council member Gloria Johnson was the only council member who was not present.