Proposed City Employee Raise Is Not Enough

Friday, June 06, 2014

When Mayor Berke passed his budget for 2015, I was saddened to see that the city of Chattanooga employees would only receive a 1.5 percent raise. I am a city of Chattanooga employee and have been for seven years, I hold a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and only earn $30,298 a year. Every day I put my life in danger to enforce the city’s ordinances on code violations as a code enforcement officer for Public Works. 

With a increase of 3.5 percent in healthcare cost, that 1.5 percent raise is pointless to the everyday worker at the city of Chattanooga. I understand that Mayor Berke is concerned about our youth in the streets, but how can our youth receive proper care if his employees are working second jobs to provide for their families.

Some may argue that, employees of the city receive better benefits than private companies, however that is not true. If the normal worker sign up for all the health benefits offered, that employee would not have any money left to live on.  

The point I am making, is that Mayor Berke employees are on the verge of becoming homeless, many are seeking government subsidies just to make ends meet. My mother had to recently move in with my family because of the rise in cost of living and us not being able to afford to pay bills such as the light bill, which is another issue that needs to be addressed.   Employees are literally taking on more assignments on the job and not being compensated properly.  

For example, my job title is code enforcement inspector , however I am delivering garbage containers when we have a person assigned for that. Myself and other employees are taking on some supervisor's and manager's responsibilities while they are enjoying the monetary benefits from it.  

The need to correct fair pay is beyond overdue, as I research other cities similar to Chattanooga, code enforcement inspectors should be making a minimum of $35,000 per year, and that’s entry level.

Mayor Berke has good intentions, however his intentions should focus a little more on his employees because we are the people who keep the agency running properly. Otherwise, his employees might as well join the homeless people on E.11th Street and live under the bridge. 

Christie Morris


Don't Be Quick To Discard Common Core

Let's not be too quick to discard Common Core. A recent article in the Tennessean on  Sunday detailed Common Core successes the Kingsport, Tennessee school system.  I encourage you to read it.  The article also noted that Tennessee was recently ranked as one of the fastest improving states in education after implementing portions of the Common Core curriculum ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Tubman Goat-Roping

Every spring there comes a bright day on the ranch when the straw-boss decrees a goat-roping should take place. What really happens is the veteran cowboys arm the greenhorns with some lariats late in the afternoon and take them to the pen that holds some Billy goats. This is before they get into bigger beasts -- horses and cattle – yet what appears to be easy most certainly is not. ... (click for more)

2 Chattanooga Bounty Hunters In Jail After Man They Sought Not Home And They Take His Wife

Two Chattanooga bounty hunters are in jail near Atlanta after police said they took a man's wife away in handcuffs after the man they were seeking was not home. Khalil Abdullah and Kevin Roberson were charged with kidnapping, false arrest and false imprisonment. In an incident in Gwinnett County, police said the pair broke into a home wielding guns and found the man they were ... (click for more)

Bradley County Police Investigating Shooting; Victim Dies

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting that occurred in the area of Georgetown Road. The sheriff's office said Sunday night that the victim had died. The victim's name has not yet been released.  A BCSO officer was waved down at the intersection of 25 th Street and Peerless Road by the driver of a vehicle who told the officer a gunshot victim ... (click for more)

Vols' Jones: Vanderbilt Will Present Various Challenges

Tennessee football coach and selected players met with the media Monday during the Vols’ weekly press conference at Neyland Stadium. The coach and players – linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and defensive back Cameron Sutton discussed last week’s loss to Missouri and the upcoming Southeastern Conference finale against rival Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Vols 5-6, 2-5 SEC) ... (click for more)

Missouri Hangs On, Turns Back Tennessee, 29-21

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Missouri pin-pricked Joshua Dobbs’ bubble of invincibility Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. The nationally ranked Tigers drove a stake in Tennessee’s heart with Maty Mauk’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Jimmie Hunt in the fourth quarter, held Dobbs in check most of the game and beat the Vols, 29-21, before 95,821 fans on a chilly night on the banks of the Tennessee ... (click for more)