Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CFPUA Could Follow Citys Lead and Jump on Pay Raise Bandwagon

With the City of Wilmington handing out bonuses, The CFPUA sets up a scenario to do the same

At Tuesday night’s Wilmington City Council meeting council members voted unanimously to pay out $1.2 million dollar in bonuses. City council sited a hiring freeze and other cost savings as the source of the bonuses. It’s very likely the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority will take a page out of the city’s playbook and make the same argument for their employees in the not too distant future.

According to CFPUA Chief Communications Officer Cary Ricks Authority employees have not seen pay increases since the Authority was created 3 years ago. There is one exception, CFPUA CEO Matt Jordan. Jordan took a controversial pay raise while his employees salaries remained stagnant. His raise made him one of the top paid officials in New Hanover County.

Rather than bonuses, the CFPUA would more likey lean towards permanent pay raises. The raises could be paid for with new rate increases Authority officials have already told customers are not too far down the road.

While pay adjustments may indeed be past due in some cases, pay raises, if passed, would be financed on the back of citizens who themselves are facing some of the worst economic conditions in decades. Many are working two or more jobs while others are taking pay cuts to keep the jobs they have. Some are losing their jobs or even their homes.

The CFPUA could also use a looming Compensation Study and Benefits Survey to justify the pay increases. The Authority has strategically used consultants in the past as a tool to justify the leadership’s agenda.

Wilmington City Councilman Ron Sparks, who also sits on the CFPUA board, voted in favor of spending the money on city employee bonuses. According to Sparks, city employees have worked hard and deserve bonuses. As a CFPUA board member, he could easily make the same argument for Authority employees.

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