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Macomb Aldermen Hesitate Before Approving Raises

Apr 2, 2012

Macomb City Council members approved a 2.25% pay raise for many city workers but not without some debate over the city's matrix pay system.

The raises go into effect May 1 for all non-union employees, firefighters union personnel, and Teamsters union personnel.

City Administrator Dean Torreson said the matrix must be adjusted as part of the raises. Alderman At Large Dennis Moon disagreed.

Moon: “I have a question. In the memo, it says the city's matrix pay will be adjusted accordingly. But that's not what we're voting on tonight if I read it correctly.”

Torreson: “Well, it's true, but it's part and parcel of our entire pay system, alderman.”

Moon: “I understand that. We've had many discussions about it. But it's not what we're voting on tonight if I read it correctly. If it was included I wouldn't vote for it. We have some philosophical differences on if the matrix has to be adjusted.”

Torreson: “That's something the council needs to deal with then because the matrix has to be adjusted.”

Moon: “In your opinion.”

Torreson: “Well, no, that's just the way it is.”

Moon: “It's your opinion. In my opinion it doesn't have to be adjusted.”

Torreson: “The entire pay system doesn't work unless the matrix is adjusted.”

Moon: “Yes it does.”

Sixth Ward Alderman Tim Lobdell also disagreed with Torreson. He said the matrix should only be adjusted every three to five years.

“By doing it the way that Dean is proposing, you are potentially inflating the job classes beyond what the market dictates elsewhere in the community,” Lobdell said.

Nonetheless, Lobdell and Moon voted in favor of the pay raises. The final count was 7-to-2, with Fourth Ward Alderman Thomas Koch and Alderman At Large Don Wynn opposed.

The matrix pay system increases the pay for new employees at a quicker pace than the old system. However, the pay is capped at a lower level than what was previously  possible under the merit step system. The matrix system was approved in December, 2010 and was retroactive to May 1, 2010.