WOODMERE — Village employees may see a 2.5 percent salary increase in 2020 after the Finance Committee reviewed the proposal on Monday.

Council was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to vote on the legislation, which would increase the salary for full-time and part-time non-bargaining unit village personnel.

The pay-hike ordinance includes members of the administration, the mayor’s court as well as employees in the service, police, fire and building departments.

On Monday, finance committee members focused on service department employees. Service Director Frank Paparone plans to restructure the pay model so that in 2020, a grade A service worker with less than five years of experience and no commercial driver’s license makes up to $15 per hour instead of the current rate of $12.96 per hour.

Councilwoman Glenda Todd-Miller disagreed, stating that workers need to have a commercial license to achieve the higher pay rates. Councilman Charles Smith cautioned against requiring a commercial license with low pay rates because of high turnover.

“No one’s going to work for $14 or $15 an hour with a [commercial driver’s license],” he said. “They will leave.”

Ms. Todd-Miller explained that workers need to have an incentive so they do not become complacent.

“Now they can sit at this range and be complacent because they got the money but they don’t need a [commercial driver’s license,]” she said.

The state requires service employees to have a commercial license if they will be driving a truck that weighs more than 26,000 pounds, Mr. Paparone said. Woodmere’s only truck that would require a commercial license is the salt truck. Mr. Paparone said that the village has other vehicles that can be used to spread salt.

He said that there are two older employees in particular who work part time for five hours a day who deserve the higher pay. Their tasks include rubbish and recycling pickup, landscaping and custodial tasks. In addition, Mr. Paparone said that the same position offers $18 to $22 per hour in other cities.

Regardless of their experience, Mr. Smith said that the employees deserve a raise over the years that they have worked for Woodmere, which is five to six years for both employees. Mr. Smith also questioned how much a raise for these two employees would affect the village budget.

Treasurer Rhonda Hall said that an increase for these two service employees would cost the village about $8,500 in 2020. Those funds were allocated in 2019 but never spent.

The salary ordinance was on the agenda for Wednesday’s council meeting.

In other news, Councilwoman Jennifer Mitchell Earley was elected by a 4-3 council vote to serve as the council president in 2020. Councilwoman Lisa Brockwell, Ms. Todd-Miller and Councilman Craig Wade voted for Ms. Earley and Councilwomen Vivian Walker and Nakeshia Nickerson voted for Mr. Smith. Ms. Earley also served as council president in 2018 and 2019.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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