Mayor Ron Littlefield said Tuesday afternoon that $1.2 million in pay increases approved earlier for the city police Career Development Progam are on hold until a lawsuit filed by police captains, lieutenants and sergeants can be sorted out.
Mayor Littlefield told the City Council, "Until we can decipher the lawsuit, we really can't go forward on the increases in pay."
He added, "The money is there. It will be spent for the agreed-upon purpose."
Bryan Hoss, attorney for the plaintiffs, called the action "retaliatory.
He said, "Not releasing the money for the younger officers is just wrong. They have known for a long time that this lawsuit was coming."
Attorney Hoss said those filing the lawsuit did not want to disrupt the pay increases going to younger officers, but wanted to correct a situation that leaves the supervisors without a way to get increases.
On another pay topic, City Council members said they were surprised to learn that all city employees will not be getting the three percent "across the board" pay increase that was approved.
Mayor Littlefield said it will not apply to certain categories of employees, including those who have "maxed out" in their pay grade under the city's pay plan that was approved in 2008.
Carol Berz, who heads the council's budget committee, said, "That was not discussed. There were never any caveats."
Councilman Russell Gilbert said he favors going ahead with a one-time pay increase that covers all city employees. Mayor Littlefield said, just for civilian employees, that would amount to over $289,000.
Chairwoman Pam Ladd said such an allocation would batter the city's pay plan. She said, "You have to set a level that you know you cannot afford to pay more. You have to stick with that or you are going to be in trouble."
Mayor Littlefield said, "I don't like to be the scrooge," but he said the same situation has come up many times in the past.
City Attorney Mike McMahan cited language in the budget ordinance passed earlier that says the three percent does not apply to those who have reached the maximum in their pay grade.