At the latest city council meeting, city workers raised their concern during the public hearing about not getting a pay raise in five years. These workers are claiming the city council is not working with their public works director, Hugh Smith. They claim there’s money in the budget for a raise but that the council isn’t acknowledging them. Quincy Cole, who is an assigned technician for public works, says if the council can’t respect them, then they can’t work for them. Hugh Smith says he has asked the council for a raise for his workers, but the council says they haven’t had any conversation about one and that they were blindsided by all of the workers coming up to demand one.
“Public Works are your first responders. We are on the ground when anything happens, we’re there. Hands down, we’re ready to work anytime, all the time. So, only thing we’re asking for them to do is acknowledge us, respect our boss man, and give us what we’re asking for—and that’s a raise,” says Cole.
In response, Councilwoman Kim Houston says, “My concern is, why is it that all these gentlemen came in tonight saying as if we are the ones aren’t wanting to give them raises, when the conversation hasn’t even come up about giving the boots on the ground a raise. I truly believe they deserve one. They work hard. They are our first responders, they do a great job, and we need them. So, if there’s a way to make that happen, I think we should look at the 3.3 million dollars in unfilled billets and make that happen.”
Councilwoman Houston says they intend to look into the $3.3 million worth of billets, which are unfilled and funded positions still in the budget, in order to hopefully give these workers a raise.