Raises granted by mistake upheld by Milton council

All town employees given 3 percent raises
Milton Town Council finalized a 3 percent raise that was accidentally given to all town employees. Council originally voted to distribute raises based on their evaluations. SOURCE FILE PHOTO
April 4, 2013

A 3 percent raise given to all Milton town employees by mistake will remain in place. Town council voted unanimously in March to keep the raises rather than adjust or retract employees' bump in salary.

“I have no intentions of retracting wages that have already been given out by mistake or not; I find that rather cold-hearted,” said then Mayor-elect Marion Jones, who asked for the topic to be brought back before council. “I wish I did understand the dynamics of how this did occur. What concerned me was the action that was taken went against the vote of council, and I believe the issue needed to come back in order for council to make a definitive decision.”

The raises directly conflicted with council's Sept. 28 vote, when the fiscal year 2013 budget was passed. Councilman John Booros made a motion to set aside a pot of money - $23,000 - to be used for raises. An employee's raise would then be determined after the personnel committee convened to review each performance appraisal. The motion was passed with five affirmative votes.

“The reason I said a merit pot to begin with is I believe there are employees of this town that deserve a heck of a lot more than 3 percent, and they are probably some employees that don't deserve an extra dime,” Booros said.

Town Manager Win Abbott was absent from the Sept. 28 meeting on an approved vacation and was not aware of council's vote. He says when he saw the money for raises in the budget line, he assumed every employee was to receive a pay bump. It was not communicated to him that raises for each employee would be determined at a later date.

Jones and Booros each emphasized their confusion at how such a miscommunication could occur.

When the personnel committee met to discuss the raises,then Mayor Cliff Newlands said, there were no employees undeserving of a raise based on their reviews.

“The one thing we were supposed to do was to determine if there was anybody who had a subpar review,” he said. “While there may be some employees that are more deserving than others to get increases, what's reflected in their appraisals was that nobody was subpar to get less [money].”

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