By Rich Pollack

Highland Beach’s town employees will see a little extra in their paychecks come November, thanks to a 3% bonus designed to help offset rising costs.
The Town Commission late last month unanimously approved a one-time Economic Impact Payment that will be given to most full- and part-time employees who are on the payroll during October.
“If an employee has a satisfactory performance in October, they will get a check in November,” Town Manager Marshall Labadie said.
In agreeing to offer the one-time bonus, town commissioners cited the rising cost of necessities including food, fuel and housing.
“Prices have spiked and people are feeling under the gun,” said Commissioner John Shoemaker.
While commissioners aren’t downplaying the positive financial impact the bonuses will have on the staff, they say that the message the extra money sends is equally important, if not more so.
“The town has done a great job of getting things done and this is really an endorsement of our entire team,” Shoemaker said. “The money is a real token to show that we value their contributions.”
Commissioners also said they hope that by showing their support for the staff, it will help the town retain top-notch personnel.
“We have a great staff and we want them to stay,” Commissioner Peggy Gossett-Seidman said.
Labadie said the bonus would be paid to employees who are in the town’s two unions — once union leaders agree — as well as to those not covered by the union.
To cover the cost of the bonuses, the town will pledge about $150,000 from its almost $10 million in reserves but plans to replace that money with unspent funds from the current fiscal year.
In addition to the one-time bonus, which will not affect base pay, town employees will be eligible for merit increases up to 5%.
Labadie said that town employees in general have faced financial challenges in recent months and that bonuses will be helpful.
“Coming out of the pandemic and into a recession has been difficult for our staff,” he said. “This gesture from the commission speaks volumes and lets them know that they want them to stay a part of our Highland Beach family.”

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Comments

  • Fight inflation?  Now there's some Russian disinformation...  Pay increases CAUSE inflation- we all learned that in seventh grade economics class.  This group is pretty audacious if you ask me.  

  • The commissioners should consider using the huge Christmas lighting budget to fund employee bonuses.  Palm trees with lights wrapped around them are nice, but I care more about paying town employees a living wage.  

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