Claremore Daily Progress

Government

October 17, 2012

COUNCIL- Back door pay increase causes rift

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

The city manager needs guidance, we have never been told that we cannot make decisions on our staff, Golbek said.
“Brandon, if you don’t trust me I can step down tonight and don’t have an issue doing that,” Golbek said. 
“In the budget hearing, we did give you direction on the pay increases,” Smith said. “It was a pretty clear cut message.”
“Our position is that raises are given at budget time,” Councilor Don Purkey said.
Golbek explained that city officials need some discretion.
“There are some times you can’t just limit it with what happens at the first of the year,” Maline said.
“My concern is that if salaries were such an issue at the time we set the budget and there was no room at the time, I would have appreciate a heads up on the issue,” Councilor Bill Flanagan said.
“I think the criticism is fair,” Councilor Mark Lepak said.
Lepak agreed that the city manager needs some flexibility but that some hot issues need to be addressed with the council.
A primary concern voiced by the council was that decisions would be made last minute when there is a change in the city manager position or 
I always thought the perception is that maybe the city staff is not being completely honest with us,”
The latest issue came after the council denied 11 employees significant raises during the budget process. Then about a month later one individual was given approximately a 10 percent raise after receiving a raise one-month prior.
“That concerns me, nothing illegal was done, and nothing wrong was done. The perception is that the council comes forward and says this is our wishes and yet the moment we take our eyes of the ball something different happens,” Smith said.
When questioned about the issue city officials stated  “they [the employee] were a key personnel at a tough time for the city and we did not want to disrupt city operations.”

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