By Tim O’Meilia
If the South Palm Beach police bargaining unit signs a three-year contract in the next month or so, the five members will each get a $1,500 lump-sum bonus.
The town’s other six full-time employees will get zip.
At its Dec. 18 meeting, the Town Council decided not to give the other town workers a one-time pay boost to match the police officers’.
“We made a conscious decision not to do it (during budget hearings last summer),” said Vice Mayor Joseph Flagello. “Come budget time, we’ll look at it. Everyone deserves a raise. It’s about our ability to give that raise.”
None of the town’s 11 full-time employees, including the police, has received a pay raise in four years. The town has lost 40 percent of its property tax base since 2008 during the economic downturn. While property values in other towns inched up this year, South Palm Beach lost another 1.7 percent.
“There is no reason to reopen it at this time,” said Councilwoman Stella Jordan. “I’m saying that because we spent so much time considering it during our budget sessions.”
If all 11 town workers and two part-timers received pro-rated $1,500 increases, it would have cost $19,000, including other payroll taxes, according to Town Manager Rex Taylor’s calculations.
Aside from the five officers, the other town employees include the police chief, captain and lieutenant, the town manager, the town clerk and assistant town clerk/administrative assistant.
Although the council and the bargaining unit agreed to a contract during a five-hour bargaining session in October, the union has yet to vote on the contract.
An apparent misunder-standing over whether police could go over the bridge during their 30- to 45-minute meal breaks prompted an exchange of paperwork before the issue was resolved. The police union members are expected to vote before the January Town Council meeting.
By Tim O’Meilia