Thursday, October 06, 2016

Much touted raise for Joplin city employees will barely cover insurance increase

(UPDATE: The insurance increase for Joplin employees is far greater than the original documents I received indicated. The Turner Report will have a more complete update with up-to-date information on the increase this afternoon.)

After three years without pay increases, Joplin city employees will receive a little extra in their paychecks, under the budget the Joplin City Council is expected to adopt later this month and it is a good thing.

The increase will barely cover rising health insurance costs and it obviously won't mean a thing to the eight people whose jobs are being eliminated.

Even worse, had it not been for the City Council, city employees would essentially be taking a hefty cut in take-home pay since the original budget recommendations submitted by city officials did not recommend any pay increase.

City employees have been told their insurance costs are increasing 4.3 percent and while that is considerably less than the 11.7 percent increase of 2015, there is still an anger among workers who have watched while money has been diverted to pet projects over the past few years.

There is also a growing resentment that the City Council continues to rubber stamp a quarter of a million dollars a year to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce for economic development. Though the money comes from a different part of the city budget, the big buck giveaway to a private entity with a president, Rob O'Brian, who pulls in a salary of more than $175,000 a year, continues to bother some employees.

One city employee told the Turner Report the anger over the way money has been spent with city employees being given short shrift has been growing for a long time and has boiled over with the announcement of job cuts and the insurance increase.

City employees have watched over the past few years as city officials have shown a willingness to throw away millions of dollars in taxpayer money on renovating Joe Becker Stadium in the pursuit of a professional baseball team, and on a shady master developer.

And while city officials continued to pursue their expensive hobbies, the people whose hard work played a key role in helping Joplin recover from the most powerful tornado to hit the U. S. in six decades, were told each year they would have to wait for pay increases because the money wasn't there.


Anonymous said...

The 3% raise for an employee making $25,000 a year will be $750. The insurance rate for the family plan will rise $22 a month for the same employee, which is $264. The cuts were jobs which were determined to be not essential to city service. If, $1.3 million was not cut from the budget, employees would still have to pay the 11% increase in health care without a raise. The ballpark renovations were pushed by Mark Rohr and Chris Cotten, neither of these people are working for the City any longer.

Anonymous said...

Missouri state employees are the worst paid state employees currently. That's number 50 out of 50.

Count your blessings. You are still underpaid, but so are others.

Anonymous said...

It is a real shame that the people responsible for safety are paid way under national averages. These people put their lives on the line for us every day and we thank them by paying them poverty level income.
We keep training them and then they leave for better pay. Wouldn't it be better to retain the ones we train?Our city council needs to get their priorities right or be replaced by someone who cares.

Anonymous said...

It is actually an 11.8% increase for the 2017 fiscal year which begins on November 1st. Which is the date in which the supposed raises are taking effect. The 4.3% number was 2016 increase and released to public to make it appear as nothing much, when it is truly a much higher increse in insurance than Tuner has been led to believe.

Anonymous said...

I left my job at the City of Joplin for a better paying job. Most City employees that aren't the top one or two in their departments are extremely unhappy with the City. Why shouldn't we be unhappy when amidst the pay freeze the City hires a new Golf Pro, not to mention another parks admin position.

Anonymous said...

8:21is right, Randy, check your figures.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Rob will use his 250K to create al kinds of great jobs.

Anonymous said...

One of the jobs was assistant to the city manager. That guy left to go work for the chamber and left his position is unfilled. It seems like the chamber should hire all the people whose jobs were cut. Put them all in one big economic development department run by RO.