This week the Plymouth Common Council approved the third and final reading of the ordinance setting salaries for appointed officers and employees, fire and police personnel for next year. For the most part, the city is offering a 5% wage increase for 2024.
There were two amendments to next year’s salary ordinance, for the Fire Chief and Human Resources.
During the meeting, City Attorney Sean Surrisi said the first proposal is an adjustment of the HR Director’s salary from a proposed $46,775 to $56,534.
The second amendment was to increase the Fire Chief’s salary to $84,829 and eliminate the opportunity for overtime. This matches the salary of the police chief for next year. This year Fire Chief Holm’s salary is $74,737.44 but he is eligible for overtime.
Jeff Houin made the motion to approve the salary ordinance with amendments for final reading and it was seconded by Shiloh Milner and then the council began a discussion.
Surrisi said in 2017 the city hired consultants Waggoner Irwin & Sheeley to complete a comprehensive review of all the positions in the city. At that time, the consultants recommended a salary of $45,091.89. The current rate is $44,548 and Surrisi said the thought was to move toward closer to where it would have been if the city had implemented its recommendation in 2017 by adding the incremental increases.
Councilman Greg Compton was concerned about a 20% increase in the salary.
Councilman Jeff Houin clarified the way salary increase was determined and explained that the current HR manager had attained the required certifications to comply with the job description, so it is appropriate to bring it up to a higher salary. He also said they wanted to make the salary more competitive with the private sector and other HR manager’s municipal salaries.
Several members of the council were supportive of an increase, but they weren’t agreeable to such a large increase.
Councilman Compton suggested an incremental increase over a 2-to-3-year period because the proposal is an “immense” increase. He asked the HR Manager, Jen Klingerman how long she has been in the position, and she said she’s been working under the Legal Department for three years. He noted that she has received the annual increases each of those 3 years.
Klingerman said in 2021 she was asked to complete a full salary analysis of all positions in the city and at that time the 6 towns and cities she was told to use as a comparison showed that the city’s HR position paid about $15,000 under average.
Councilman Don Ecker who attended the meeting online proposed an amendment to the motion of a 13% increase for next year which would bring the salary to about $53,110. He said, “I do believe it warrants an increase, I’m just not comfortable with doing it all at once.”
There were no questions on the fire chief proposal.
Council members were agreeable to the 13% increase over the proposed 2024 salary, and it passed with a 5 to 7 vote. Councilmen Greg Compton and Randy Longanecker voted against it.