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



We Need Reconciliation And Not Division

The news is reporting that Mayor Berke is withdrawing city maintenance from the Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery. I would suggest that this move is short-sighted and likely to defeat the very goals the mayor has in mind. There are better ways to handle this.  A recent Marist poll indicates that a majority of people do not want Confederate memorials removed. Even 40 percent ... (click for more)

Calm The Anti-Confederate Hysteria

I am hoping this newspaper can in some way calm this "confederate hysteria" that seems to be steam rolling at a rapid pace.  My family helped pioneer this region and yes....fought for the "southern cause". My ancestors are buried all throughout the area and my family's cabin is commemorated at the Chattanooga/Chickamauga park.  Without exaggeration...I fear my family's ... (click for more)

Coolidge Park Crowd Gets Twilight, Cricket Chirping As Solar Eclipse Arrives

A crowd at Coolidge Park and the nearby Walnut Street Bridge got twilight and cricket chirping as the heralded solar eclipse finally arrived at mid-afternoon Monday. As the moon moved across the sun around 2:30 p.m., birds quit chirping and began to roost. Crickets started going full force. Lights on the Market Street Bridge began to flicker on. The event, sponsored by Comcast, ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport President Gets New Contract Amid Double-Digit Growth, Improvements

Chattanooga Airport President Terry Hart has been given a six-year extension on his contract amid double-digit passenger increases and a host of airport improvements. There is no increase in his $158,377 pay, but the board plans to put in annual performance reviews with some built-in bonuses. Jim Hall, vice chairman of the Airport Board, said it is also important that the ... (click for more)

UTC Soccer Battles Eastern Kentucky To 0-0 Tie

The UTC women’s soccer team battled to a 0-0 tie against Eastern Kentucky Sunday afternoon at Finley Stadium in non-conference action.   The Mocs remain unbeaten at 1-0-1 while Eastern Kentucky moves to 0-1-1 on the year.   “There’s a reason why they were co-regular season champions in the Ohio Valley Conference last year and made a run to the conference tournament ... (click for more)

Blue-Gold Scrimmage Is Prelude To UTC Volleyball Regular Schedule

The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball program concluded their preseason schedule with the annual Blue and Gold intra-squad scrimmage  on Saturday  afternoon in Maclellan Gymnasium. The three-set scrimmage featured the Mocs roster mixing up lineups on both the Blue and Gold teams. Blue jerseys came out victorious after earning a 2-1 (25-23, 27-25, 15-25) win over the ... (click for more)