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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Greencastle puts employee raises on hold

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Greencastle city employees won't be getting the raises they were expecting for the beginning of the year -- at least not now.

Employees received a letter dated Dec. 31, 2008, informing them that Mayor Sue Murray had asked the clerk-treasurer "not to institute the approved salary increases for 2009 until we have a firm understanding as to how much of our 2007, payable 2008 tax revenue that we have been certified to receive we actually do get."

In October, the city council was mulling the idea of giving Murray a larger raise than the suggested $1,200 for 2009. It was Murray herself who advised against that move.

Although the salary ordinance was approved by the council, the power to enact it or not is left to the mayor.

Murray said the city received its May tax draw in December, and probably wouldn't get its November tax draw until February.

"Not giving raises was absolutely the last thing we wanted to do, but it was the most prudent thing to do," Murray said.

A city employee anonymously e-mailed a copy of Murray's letter to the Banner Graphic on Monday.

"I am disappointed to find out that the city of Greencastle has not made the choice to pay the employees, yet the city was able to complete phase one of replacing perfectly good street lights on the square," the employee wrote. "This was not a necessary improvement due to the fact that the lights worked properly. It was certainly an extremely expensive one, though. I guess I don't understand the priorities of the city anymore. Lights over employees."

Murray pointed out that the lights were paid for with redevelopment funds, which carry strict guidelines and cannot be used for salaries. She also said the new lights use a quarter of the energy the old ones did, which will translate to savings for the city.

Murray stressed that the suspension of the raises -- which average our to $700 per year per employee -- was not meant to be permanent. After the city receives the rest of its 2008 draw and has been certified for its 2009 spending, Murray plans to issue employees checks for the prorated amount of their increases, retroactive to Jan. 1.

"We had to decide which was the better option -- to give the raises and possibly not be able to continue them, or to give them retroactively after we know what our certified dollars are."

Murray said Greencastle is not dealing with anything other municipalities are not, and that when cuts have to be made sometimes it was necessary to start with the largest expenses -- usually personnel.

"These are strange and uncertain times," she said. "Salaries are the bulk of our budget. We can't pretend it's business as usual."

Murray said the raise suspension was in no way a reflection of the value of the city's employees.

"We will be more than happy to turn around and give them retroactive checks," she said. "We do have wonderful employees. They're the biggest part of what we do."

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While I do understand the employees being upset, you are not alone. There are many companies not giving raises nationwide not just in this area. I didn't get one last year and really can't see it happening this year either. It is bad but I am just thankful right now that I still have a job.

-- Posted by pepperdog on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 7:58 AM

They should just be thankful they have a job right now.

-- Posted by Harleybrat on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 10:42 AM

That's pretty sneaky. If you feel that strongly about something, first of all make sure you are educated before speaking, and secondly take ownership of your actions. I agree with Harleybrat. They should be thankful that they have still have positions.

-- Posted by MsBehaving on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 11:16 AM

I don't think it is unreasonable to put the county on a raise hold, I work for a local company (DC) and we are on a wage freeze as well. I guess we should be thankful we have jobs for now atleast. Better some income than none.

-- Posted by dcsaiht on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 11:34 AM


-- Posted by Michele1953 on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 5:43 PM

I agree with michele1953 maybe the mayor should take a look in her own back yard. Maybe she should do as the Fillmore town council did and give some of her salary back(its far over priced anyway) as if the mayor will let that happen, atleast to her. I did not vote for her because I believe she is greedy, but not to say she doesn't have the best interest of the town at heart just as long as it does not affect her wallet.

-- Posted by dcsaiht on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 9:42 PM

Have they looked at the economy lately?! Or do they think they are an exception to any type of cut..........

-- Posted by indy500 on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 11:31 PM

Why does Greencastle need a full time staff attorney? Other cities and towns our size don't have one. In this economy we won't being needing an attorney for bonds, thats for sure.

-- Posted by NeverChanges on Thu, Jan 8, 2009, at 5:39 AM

Companies all over the country are slashing raises and bonuses. Quit complaining and jooin the rest of the working world of 2009.

-- Posted by fashionista on Thu, Jan 8, 2009, at 7:04 AM

countygirl067--Most county employees got a flat $900.00 raise, which roughly comes to $2.47 a day. There have been years where county employees saw no raise.

-- Posted by beachbum on Thu, Jan 8, 2009, at 8:48 AM

1. Once I worked for the same company for over four years, during three of which I did not receive a raise. While I was putting in 9 - 10 hours a day on a regular basis, in addition to working some weekends, the company was performing poorly, thus no pay increase. I had a family to support, believed that this was the best job that I could fint at the time (i.e., location, hours, work conditions, etc.), so I was quite thankful that I had a job.

2. BG: What do you mean exactly, "A city employee anonymously e-mailed a copy of Murray's letter to the Banner Graphic on Monday"? Does this mean that you actially do not know who your source is?? Or, do you mean that this supposed city employee gave permission for you to put his/her comment in the paper on the condition of anonymity???

3. If Ms. Murray were truly greedy, she would have taken a raise with the city council's approval. She also could have kept her civilian job, for which I tend to think that she was getting paid more. I also do not think that she ran for the office to be on some power trip; rather, she is genuinely interested in what is best for Greencastle.

-- Posted by outtahere on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 4:33 PM

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