Proposed City Employee Raise Is Not Enough

Friday, June 6, 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


Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I am constantly amazed by the many emails that I receive every day. Quite curiously, I get a heavier load than I would ever have thought because the big search engines on the Internet send my Chattanoogan.com stories far and wide. Even the local ones on the Chattanooga area bring comments and I am deeply flattered. I try to read them and lament I haven’t the time to respond the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Luther’s B-17 Showed Up

I am a huge sap for our veterans and just the other days a reader shared the ultimate story about a guy who returned to his sweetheart at the end of World War II. The little town of Miller. Missouri, is located in the southwest corner of the state and the biggest thing to ever happen in Lawrence County is when a native son, James Lawrence, hollered “Don’t Give Up The Ship” in the ... (click for more)

Smith Denies He Told Young To Shoot Holsey In North Chattanooga Drug Deal That Cost A Life; Asks Jury To Spare Him Life Sentence

Briston "B.J." Smith told a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon that he never ordered Adram "A.B." Young to shot Charles "Chas" Holsey in a North Chattanooga drug deal that cost a life. Smith, who was 18 at the time and is now 20, asked the jury not to put him behind bars for life. The state is seeking a life sentence (51 years) on a first-degree felony murder charge. ... (click for more)

12 "Johns" Arrested In Multi-Agency Prostitution Sting Operation In East Ridge, Including Doctor, Teacher

A joint operation was conducted on Wednesday by the East Ridge Police Department in cooperation with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Chattanooga Police Department, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to combat human trafficking and prostitution complaints within the city of East Ridge. The operation was conducted over a two-day period when online advertisements ... (click for more)

Lookouts Open Second Half Play With 6-1 Win Friday Over Pensacola

Stephen Gonsalves struck out nine hitters over seven innings, leading the Chattanooga Lookouts over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in a 6-1 win on Friday. Gonsalves (3-3) allowed one run and three hits while walking one to pick up the win. Chattanooga went up 5-0 in the fourth after Levi Michael hit a three-run home run. Keury Mella (2-5) went five innings, allowing five runs ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)