The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

May 8, 2012

Joplin city employees to receive 3 percent raise

City Council still has no pay plan in place

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin city employees are to receive a 3 percent across-the-board pay increase.

City Manager Mark Rohr told the City Council on Monday night that no raises have been given since November 2010, and that all city employees performed admirably to help with the rescue and recovery efforts after the 2011 tornado.

“The city does a good job of maintaining its infrastructure,” Rohr told the council during its informal meeting, “but I’m afraid we are falling behind on maintaining the personnel infrastructure.

“No greater test of any city employee has ever occurred” than the EF-5 tornado on May 22 that claimed 161 lives and destroyed or damaged about 7,500 structures.

He proposed that the city immediately grant a 3 percent across-the-board raise, and asked the council to review previously discussed pay-plan options and choose one by June 15.

Despite repeated discussions over the past several years, the City Council has not adopted a pay plan, so there is nothing in place to trigger raises.

In 2009, the council studied a pay-for-performance plan. The panel rejected it in early 2010, saying it eventually would get too costly as salaries rose, especially those of higher paid employees.

Two years ago, the city staff did a market study of public sector wages, and Joplin’s pay rates ranked 20 percent below those of other cities, Rohr said. The city staff also presented research into different types of pay plans from which the council could choose. The council decided to further explore two kinds of plans: a range-and-step plan, and a performance-and-competency plan. That work was interrupted by a number of issues and was not resumed before the tornado hit, when most of the council’s work turned to tornado issues.

At Monday night’s meeting, Rohr said he understands that people are rebuilding from the tornado, and that he was not asking that taxes be raised to pay for the wage increases. He said an across-the-board increase would cost $375,750. He said that amount could be paid from an increase in sales tax proceeds that has exceeded budget estimates. He said the city has strong fund balances but would not have to tap them for the cost.

Councilman Morris Glaze said he was not “real happy” about granting an across-the-board raise because he believes the council should pick a pay plan and implement it in order to comply with the city charter. He wants to tie raises to employee evaluations. Evaluations are tied to the anniversary of an employee’s hiring date.

Rohr said the 3 percent raise is a short-term effort to help employees meet rising costs. He said that if the council did choose a pay plan, it could mean that some employees would have to wait another year to get a raise because their anniversary date has already passed this year.

Councilman Jack Golden said pay-for-performance has been used in other places and in some local companies, and has not been successful. He said he would like to see a current local wage study to help decide what wages should be.

Councilman Benjamin Rosenberg said he believes an across-the-board pay raise is the most fair. “I think you’ll have less dissension if you do that way than any other way,” he said. To award raises in different amounts creates resentment among co-workers, he said.

Councilman Gary Shaw favored giving the raises, and he said the council should be familiarized with the pay-plan options so that it could select one at a future meeting.

Councilman Bill Scearce said he did not agree with awarding an across-the-board increase because it rewards workers on the higher end of the pay scale more than those on the lower end, and they need more money the most to keep up with gas prices and utility costs.

Shaw said the council should try to make it as fair as possible and give a raise. “I think our people deserve something,” he said.

Golden asked that the council be sensitive to the plight of residents in deciding how much government would cost.


THE COUNCIL’S VOTE to approve the 3 percent pay increase was unanimous.

Text Only
May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

Purchase Globe Photos

Featured Ads
Tornado: Multimedia coverage
Tornado: Obituaries
Tornado: Columns
Tornado: Mike Pound
Tornado: Lists of missing, fatalities & relief
Tornado: Donate & volunteer
Tornado: Resources & relief