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Birmingham city employees to receive raises

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham city commissioners approved a 4.5 percent salary adjustment range for city department heads and administrative and management classifications, including part-time employees not covered by a labor organization or union, beginning July 1, 2022, at the commission meeting on Monday, June 27.

Human resources manager Joseph Lambert stated the recommended adjustments to the salary ranges stem from a measurement of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index data for neighboring areas – including Dearborn, Detroit, and Warren – which showed a 7.5 percent increase in inflationary costs from March 2021 to May 2022. The city's fiscal year begins July 1.

Lambert suggested that, given the 7.5 percent increase, a more aggressive market adjustment is needed to respond to rising costs from inflation and improve talent acquisition and retention. The proposed recommendation includes a 4.5 percent market, or cost-of-living, adjustment to the salary ranges of the specified city employees. This adjustment will result in an estimated cost of $159,000 for the city.

In addition to the 4.5 percent salary range adjustment, the city commission has approved a merit based performance increase program that allows specified city employees to earn additional salary increases based on performance reviews. The merit-based increases will create an estimated $185,000 cost to the city, separate from the $159,000 cost stemming from the salary range adjustments.

Employees at the maximum end of their pay rate will be eligible for a 2.5 percent salary increase, dependent on performance reviews. Employees at or above the 75th percentile of their salary range may be eligible for a three percent salary increase, and employees below the 75th percentile of their salary range may be eligible for a 6.5 percent increase, all dependent on the employee’s performance review.

Commissioner Brad Host stated his disapproval of the proposed rates, noting the inequity between salary ranges for department heads and administrative and management employees.

“In your negotiations, you’ve told them we are in a pandemic and things are tight and we ought to get our belts in and the point being – look at our five units,” Host said. “The inequity here in this presentation possibly is unparalleled and it’s certainly not team building. I consider it glaring, unfair and sending the total wrong message to whatever you would call the team of all the employees of the city of Birmingham.“

Commissioner Andrew Haig also questioned the market comparability of the proposed salary adjustment rates, noting that the increases seemed large as a cumulative, given the salary adjustments and incentives combined.

City manager Tom Markus, along with support from mayor Therese Longe, explained that the salary adjustments are needed to compete with other municipalities and that, going forward, these adjustments will set the bar for labor organizations to negotiate as well as allow them to recognize that the administration is paying attention to everybody in the city’s operation.

The approval of the salary range adjustments resolution was supported 6-1, with Host voting against it.


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