Missouri City City Council gave preliminary approval to a pay increase for all city employees during its May 3 meeting.
City employees, including fire and police personnel, will receive a 3.5% salary adjustment to accommodate for the rising cost of living, according to the proposed ordinance. The annual cost for this 3.5% increase is estimated at $895,000 with a prorated cost of $465,000 for fiscal year 2020-21, city documents show.
“This is long overdue,” Council Member Jeffrey Boney said. “Our staff should have been paid an increase months ago. We are here now, and I believe this is the right thing to do for our employees.”
Additionally, employees whose salary is more than 10% below the market median for similar positions at comparable cities will be brought into alignment. Financial Services Director Allena Portis said it will cost the city approximately $178,000 annually to bring the 28 individuals who fall into this “severely misaligned” category up to the market median.
During the meeting, Council Member Floyd Emery proposed lowering the threshold to include employees who are more than 5% misaligned.
“I think that would bring more people who are misaligned into the mix,” Emery said. “I know that’s going to cost some additional dollars.”
However, Portis said 81 employees fall into this category, meaning it would cost the city $512,000 per year—money the city does not have available.
The ordinance also includes a 3% increase to salary ranges. The city uses a minimum-median-maximum pay structure, so each of those checkpoints will be adjusted up.
The city’s recommendation is based on a study by Gallagher Consulting to ensure Missouri City was market competitive when compared to 21 similar cities, according to city documents. The previous market compensation study was conducted in 2018.
If given final approval, the ordinance will go into effect retroactively beginning March 28.
In April, City Council rejected a proposal to move away from the checkpoint structure and adopt a defined pay progression plan, in which each employee would receive a 2.5% incremental increase to their base pay annually.
“Tonight, we took some action for our staff, both police and fire and our regular staff, to give them some salary action that was long overdue,” Emery said. “What we did [in April] was not in any way indicative that we were against any kind of salary action, but we were looking at a completely different pay program.”
Interim City Manager Bill Atkinson said city staff will be revisiting this issue during the budgeting process to address any necessary or desired changes to pay plans for both civil service and non-civil service employees.