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City employees not happy with Raleigh's budget proposal

Posted June 2, 2009
Updated June 3, 2009

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— The Raleigh City Council heard concerns from police officers, firefighters and other city workers over the fiscal 2009-10 budget at a public hearing Tuesday evening.

Public input sought on budget Talk of budget cuts pack public hearing

City Manager Russell Allen has proposed a $696.2 million budget that would cut 85 vacant positions to eliminate a projected $20 million shortfall.

The budget proposal caps the annual merit raise at 4 percent for employees that have been on the job for five years or less. Employees with six years of service or more, would be eligible for a smaller merit raise, or no raise at all. The proposal also raises health insurance premiums for city employees.

"What message do you send police officers when you ask them to work harder, but fail to reward them for their dedication and commitment to our city?" said Rick Armstrong, president of the Raleigh Police Protective Association.

"(City workers) will not receive any merit adjustment (or) cost-of-living raise, and their insurance is going to go up. So, their check will be less next year than it is this year," Armstrong said. "I think there's a lot of frustration there."

The public workers said they are upset about the cuts, given that Allen recently received a 4.75 percent raise.

"We feel like there is money in the budget that can be found and appropriated for a very modest raise," said Keith Wilder, president of the Raleigh Professional Firefighters Association.

The Parks and Recreation Department would take the biggest hit in Allen’s proposal, losing 27 open positions. The city would also cut operating hours and maintenance at community centers, public pools, parks and greenways.

The budget proposal also cuts positions in the Inspections and Public Works departments.

"People can't afford this new budget. It is ridiculous," sanitation worker Eddie Edgerton said.

Allen said the cuts, along with savings in travel and training, holding off on replacing older vehicles and capping pay raises for city workers at 4 percent, would save Raleigh about $15.1 million in operating costs and $10 million in capital spending.

During a down economy, Mayor Charles Meeker said Raleigh employees are lucky things aren't worse.

"Raleigh is fortunate we are talking about some increases as opposed to laying people off,” Meeker said.

The proposed $384.5 million operating budget would be 0.7 percent less than the 2008-09 operating budget.

146 Comments

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  • wcnc Jun 3, 2009

    I don't agree that Allen should get a hefty raise when most employees are getting little to nothing.....However, I find the RPD and RFD employees a tad ungrateful....they don't seem to realize that ALL Wake employees, including WCSO, will also get NO raise this year.....and haven't gotten a COL in many years....that's why RPD salaries are higher after 5 or so years in.....

    BUT, we all have to make some kind of sacrifice. If getting no raise in a recession meant I'd keep my job, I'm not sure I'd be complaining. Now, when the economy is better, if this is how they are treated, I'd agree with them. But not right now.

  • gammasandi Jun 3, 2009

    oh, and definitely have Mr.Allen out at the crack of dawn picking up trash-or if it isn't picked up it becomes HIS problem!

  • gammasandi Jun 3, 2009

    This is a case of adding insult to injury-first, a budget cut for most, then a pay raise for Mr. Allen! Let's have him ride "shotgun" with the firefighters and police for a while and see how valuable he thinks their 56 hours per week might be! Once again, elite snobbery at its shabbiest!

  • MakoII Jun 3, 2009

    The household income model doesn't exactly match government income model.

    There is a huge difference between the "personal" and the "societal"

    Some service you can't turn off. Are you going to not pay for orphans? Not police? Fire nursing staff and turn away people to clinics (hence not treating communicable diseases?) Either you keep the roads fixed or you close roads. There's a huge laundry list of such activities showing the difference.

    That being the case, there are things you can do.

    The first is hire a private outside firm to AUDIT you. Let them determine if you aren't opening your IT services to competitive bids (most state services cost $150 whereas homeowners get the SAME service for less than $45)

    Seek redundancy, unnecessary and least used services.

    "The Bobs" will help determine what personnel aren't needed, or whether some personnel can be cut or others must get raised salaries.

    But ask a politician to lose control from an Audit? THAT is the problem!

  • Duke _Nukem Jun 3, 2009

    raleighboyfd
    Thank you for explaining why the city employees are so upset about the cuts. People are missing the point. We understand as city employees that there is a short fall and cuts must be made. But that means cuts for everyone, not certain people. My check will get smaller. Allens will get much bigger. Not right at all. Lead by example Mr. Allen and Mr. Meeker.

  • Professor Jun 3, 2009

    With the way the economy is, they do not need raises. They should be thankful they even have a job. Complainers, Lord help them to be quiet and thankful.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Jun 3, 2009

    "If the lower paid employees are going to take cuts... then the leaders need to do the same."

    All that needs to be said....if not done, then the lower paid employees have to rebel. Its the only way

  • PirateHeist Jun 3, 2009

    piratehiest profile says he doesn't even live in raleigh, so i don't know what raleigh taxes your paying that causing you to be disgruntled.

    RFD and RPD work 56 hours a week, having to respond at a moments notice... many times not able to eat all day long... only to be slapped in the face by the city manager. People say stop whining and do your part in this economy.... we have been doing our part, for far too long. If the lower paid employees are going to take cuts... then the leaders need to do the same.

    ----

    FD and PD have to respond at a moments notice?? Heaven forbid that state and city workers actually have to DO the job for which they are paid. I'll agree with you that the leaders of Raleigh are a bunch of low lifes(what politicians aren't?), but raises in this economy when the rest of us are facing cuts just don't make sense. I moved and haven't changed my WRAL profile by the way. It wasn't exactly a high priority.

  • raleighboy21 Jun 3, 2009

    its not so much the pay cuts that hurt... its how the city handles the situation. Spending millions on hillsborough street and moore square during a recession? They've wanted to do it for the past 7 years... but they choose now to do it? Thousands move to the triangle every year, which increases tax revenue, but you say you don't have enough to pay out what is deserved by the city employees who work hard every day to make this an enjoyable and attractive place to live. Then you give russell allen a pay raise and give cuts to the employees

  • oldcorp Jun 3, 2009

    As a former city employee, now retired, I feel a need to remind folks that the City of Raleigh has a fairly extensive history of treating it's emplyees as something fairly expendable. Anyone remember the 'Dempsey Benton days'? He was a huge detriment to the PD and FD.
    Hardship in the City Manager's Office is when the thermastat malfunctions and it takes Building Maintenance more than 10 minutes to respond.

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