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Raises could be withheld from some problem city workers

May 6, 2009

The Wauwatosa Common Council Tuesday approved a measure to allow the city to withhold annual cost-of-living pay raises from nonunion employees whose performance is rated as unsatisfactory.

The ordinance amendment delegates discretion to the city administrator to make the final decision where performance problems exist.

Employees who opposed the change said they were not against holding people responsible for their performance, but they believed city departments already have in place policies and methods of discipline such as verbal and written reprimands, demotions and unpaid days off.

Withholding a cost-of-living increase after issuing a reprimand counts as double discipline, some employees contended.

Not so, said Assistant City Attorney Beth Aldana. State statute defines discipline as suspension, reducing rank and firing.

City Administrator James Archambo called the concept of giving a suspended employee a raise "absurd."

If an employee's discipline problems are corrected, the cost-of-living raise could be put back in place retroactively so wages aren’t lost over time, Aldana said.

The action taking Tuesday affects about 90 city employees.

 

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