Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Council Proposes 3% Raise for Employees Living in City

Proposal in response to Republican law ending city residency requirement.

By - May 22nd, 2019 02:16 pm
BMO Tower Site with City Hall visible in the background. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

BMO Tower Site with City Hall visible in the background. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Are you an employee of the City of Milwaukee living in Milwaukee? You’re likely getting a raise.

The Common Council’s Finance & Personnel Committee approved a resolution Wednesday morning to authorize three percent raises for city employees who are also city residents.

The proposal comes in response to a 2013 state law change passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature that ended the city’s 75-year-old residency requirement and a 2019 budget amendment from Alderwoman Chantia Lewis that requested city employees be given raises, but didn’t specify how.

The 174-page plan, which still needs full Common Council approval, would effectively create two pay plans for the city’s approximately 4,000 general employees according to Department of Employee Relations director Maria Monteagudo: one for city residents, one for non-residents.

Members of the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Fire Department are exempt from the proposal as their unions are governed by separate collective bargaining agreements. The raises also wouldn’t apply to those that have already received a three percent or greater raise in 2019.

It also doesn’t mean future raises. “This is for 2019 only, we not making any recommendations or changes to 2020 or beyond,” said Monteagudo. The city last issued across-the-board raises in 2014.

Of the approximately 4,000 employees potentially eligible for the raise, 604 are not city residents (15.1 percent) according to a new Department of Employee Relations report.

No one will see a pay reduction as part of the plan. But non-resident employees would become ineligible for the city’s Career Ladder program which awards performance and education related pay increases. The elimination of the program has drawn pushback from some employees according to Monteagudo and AFSCME representative Ken Wischer.

“The Career Ladder piece is somewhat of a disappointment,” said Wischer. “Hopefully the attainments that those people made can be recognized in 2020.”

But AFSCME and Wischer aren’t opposing the proposal. “I would like getting a raise, so I would urge approval,” said Wischer. The proposal, sponsored by committee chair Ald. Milele A. Coggs, was unanimously approved by the committee.

The change is expected to cost approximately $1,275,000 in 2019 according to city budget director Dennis Yaccarino. The proposal would go into effect on June 16th as part of pay period 13.

A potentially bigger battle is yet to come. The city will negotiate with the Milwaukee Police Association this summer for rank-and-file police officers, with negotiations for supervisors and firefighters coming in 2020.

Compared to the 15.1 percent non-city resident rate for general employees, the city’s police and fire unions have non-city residency rates in excess of 30 percent.

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Related Legislation: File 190233

Categories: City Hall, Politics

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