“It’s been almost a year since COVID[-19] started, and we went through a lot of trying times,” City Administrator Byron Hebert said. “I'm anxious to say that we're able to do this earlier than we thought. ... The mayor said, you know, ‘Is there anything we can give back to the employees?’”
City Finance Director Andrew Vasquez, Mayor Bill Hastings and Hebert crafted a program that will give a $2,600 raise to the base salary of each full-time city of Katy employee—the first raise for city employees since October 2019.
“The reason we're able to have this pay increase is because the projections that we thought we were going to get in sales tax revenue were under what we actually achieved,” Council Member Jenifer Stockdick said. “It opened up this bucket, if you will, of income that we have where we can provide this pay increase.”
Stockdick went on to say the raise as a specific figure, instead of a percentage of each employee's current salary, will have a more significant impact on lower-paid employees.
“The best thing about this pay increase is that everyone in staff that's at a lower or midlevel pay salary—this will greatly affect them,” Stockdick said. “Three percent across the board is great for someone at the high end, but someone at the low end—it doesn't boost them enough.”
In addition to the pay raise, the council also honored its employees a second way at the meeting: presenting all city employees with the title of Above and Beyond Employee of the Year for 2020. The award is given based on an employee’s excellence in initiative, integrity, dependability, judgement, work performance, and cooperative work relationships with other city of Katy employees and the public.
“We are proud to have such honest, hard-working loyal people on our team,” Hastings said. “Through adversity we have a choice: We can be better, or we can be better. The city of Katy employees are proof that we became better. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”
Normally, the council would present a single employee with the award—but the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 called for an exception to the tradition, Hastings said.
“It is attitude, not circumstance, that makes success possible in the most unlikely conditions,” Hastings said. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration—the rest of us just get up and go to work. The city of Katy employees have gone above and beyond the call of duty and are a tremendous asset to the city.”