Macon Mayor’s New Pay Scale Catching Heat

Controversy swirls around Macon Mayor, Robert Reichert’s new proposed city pay scale.

“We’re not chop liver, we come out here and we work just as hard as anybody else. We’re out here all day, every day. 10 hours a day and it’s just not fair,” said Anthony Collins, a city heavy equipment operator.

Collins is frustrated with the Mayor’s proposed pay scale and says the general employees are being left out of raises while administration, police, and fire officials receive the bulk of the increase. A notion that city council woman Elaine Lucas agrees with.

“This pay scale seems like it rewards those who make the highest salaries already. There are proposals for a 27-thousand increase for one person and a 10-thousand increase for another person. These folks are already making some of the highest salaries in the city,” said Lucas.  

The mayor justifies the scale by deferring to the University of Georgia, Vinson Institute of Government’s study that looked at cities and counties similar to Macon and put together a market analysis of what the city should be paying their employees. The study surveyed salaries from Albany, Athens-Clarke Co., Augusta-Richmond Co., Savannah, and Valdosta to put together a suggested pay scale for the city of Macon.

“I kept saying over and over again that this is not a personal job performance evaluation, it’s not about what kind of job you are doing. It’s about the details and the requirements of the job and then what is a fair salary for that job,” said Macon Mayor, Robert Reichert.  

Councilwoman Elaine Lucas said the mayor and his staff did not properly use the Vinson Report and put in their own estimates into the proposed pay scale.

41 NBC received a copy of the Vinson Report and found the suggested market value of Collins’ job of a heavy equipment operator should go up from pay grade 9, which he currently makes, to grade 12.

In the Mayor’s new pay scale, the heavy equipment operator position equaled the lowest suggested salary scale from the Vinson Report on pay grade 12 and the firefighter position also matched the suggested pay grade from both documents.

One major loop hole in the pay scale is there is no definitive way to honor seniority or longevity to city employees with this current pay scale.

“Any pay scale that does not have provisions for seniority or longevity and does not take into account, you have people who are not getting anything at all and folks that are already in the highest salary ranges and they’re getting the increase, that’s no pay scale at all,” said Lucas.  

The mayor says the pay scale benefits the city in the long term by attracting a better pool of applicants.

“Competitive wage, a fair wage, based on the market analysis then we’re able to attract and keep better quality applicants,” Reichert said.  

Anthony Collins says he just wants a fair piece of the pie.

“I think they got enough of the pie to split it equally all the way across and then come back in about six months and try to fix it where everybody can be satisfied,” said Collins.

Collins put together a petition against the new pay scale and has around 60 city employee signatures on it.

The pay scale will go before Macon City Council’s Appropriations Committee on Monday, Dec. 20th, for a vote. The pay scale will then go before full council for vote on Dec. 21st at 6 p.m. at city hall.

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