Thursday, October 06, 2016
Much touted raise for Joplin city employees will barely cover insurance increase
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.