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City council expresses concerns over proposed salary increases

The Claremont City Council quickly moved forward on several Consent Calendar items Tuesday night including the community’s participation in the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) and the adoption of the new fee schedule for the city’s sanitation services.

However, one item in particular, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Claremont and the various employee associations, was pulled from the calendar and discussed at length. Council members were quick to speak up and share their concerns regarding the proposed salary increases and the methods with which they were measured.

Since January 2014, city staff and representatives of various employee associations have been meeting in good faith to discuss wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment. An agreement on the terms of the subsequent Memorandum of Understanding through June 30, 2017 was reached and presented to the council for resolution. Councilman Corey Calaycay, who stated he was “uncomfortable” with the across the board cost of living increases proposed by the MOUs, pulled the item from the consent calendar for further discussion.

“I’m just not comfortable in these times especially when we still have a pension liability that has to be addressed. Until we’ve really addressed that and just in general, again, because of my view of being uncomfortable with across the board cost of living increases, I’m not going to support the MOUs. Unfortunately, I can’t pick and choose parts of it and therefore I have to vote no.”

To help determine those cost of living increases, the city contracted human resources consulting firm Koff & Associates based in northern California to complete a comprehensive compensation survey for job classifications. The results determined 25 job classifications held within Claremont had salaries below market average. That same survey revealed 21 represented job classifications that are currently vacant with salaries above market average. Not surprising, the city staff is recommending a reduction in salary to the market average for those classifications.

Check out our complete city council coverage Friday.

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