The Gardendale City Council approved a 5 percent, across the board, COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for all city employees at the October 4th meeting.
During their recent budgeting process, the Mayor and Council budgeted for the anticipated reclassification, by the Personnel Board of Jefferson County, of pay scales for public safety personnel which would give public safety personnel an additional 10 percent increase in pay. This 10 percent would be in addition to the 5 percent COLA and, effectively, give police and fire in Gardendale a 15 percent increase in pay.
While all increases were budgeted by the city in the recently approved city budget for next fiscal year, the city subsequently learned that the Personnel Board will not approve the 10 percent reclassification to begin until October 1, 2023.
Mayor Stan Hogeland says he would like to see the additional 10 percent happen before that October 2023 date and is “working on a workable solution that [he] believes will be welcomed and appreciated. All will be done within the Jefferson County Personnel Board guidelines.”
The Mayor says he hopes to have a solution in place within the next few days.
The pay increase issues are compounded by city employees being made aware that they will see a 15 percent increase in their health insurance premiums. Councilman Adam Berendt says the health insurance increase by the city’s provider takes into account the number of claims that have been made under the plan that year.
Both Hogeland and Berendt expressed that the city has a quality plan that is no longer offered by the provider. While Mayor Hogeland said at the city council meeting that the city would be open to changing the plan to one with lower premiums if enough city employees were in favor of it, he noted that if Gardendale ever leaves the plan, there would be no going back to the plan as it would not be an option.