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4/27/2007
Salary freeze bills withdrawn pending new pay proposal

By Jesse Chadderdon

Staff Reporter, Community News

Two bills that would have frozen salaries for select groups of county employees were tabled Tuesday night by their sponsors as the council prepares to consider a comprehensive change to the pay structure of nonunion county employees.

Councilman William Tansey (R-Greenville) withdrew his proposal, which would have frozen cost of living increases for the 33 council employees, because of what he perceived as a lack of support from his colleagues.

Last month, Tansey made a similar motion in a committee meeting, but did not get the required second to bring the proposal to a vote.

"I don’t have the support and I’m not going to turn this into a circus," Tansey said. "But I wanted to send a message to the union folks that we’re willing to take our lumps and that they should take theirs too."

Tansey, along with Councilwoman Stephanie McClellan (D-Newark), said he has volunteered to forego his increase this year.

Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Chatham) tabled a similar piece of legislation that would have also included non-union and police executive staff.

Weiner also said he did not believe he had much support and said he was anxiously awaiting the details of an updated pay structure for that group of employees.

"I’m aware there are other initiatives under way which may provide a better solution to the needs and concerns of county employees as well as the needs and concerns of county council," he said, adding that the current pay structure that affords employees up to an 8 percent increase in each of their first ten years was out of step with other jurisdictions.

Council President Paul Clark said he would be introducing a comprehensive pay plan in the coming weeks that he said would be more equitable across the board than simply freezing salaries.

"As I said when the issue of compensation first came up, this has to be well thought out," he said. "You just don’t knee-jerk something when you’re dealing with people’s future."

Weiner said he looked forward to the details of that plan, but said he would reintroduce his legislation if it did not go far enough.

Weiner, Strine to hold meeting

Weiner and Chief Financial Officer Michael Strine will hold a public meeting discussing the county’s budget and proposed 17.5 percent property tax increase on Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Brandywine Hundred Library.

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