Published: 1:53 pm, Wed. Oct. 12th, 2016
The PY Foundation, a private foundation headed by former Yates Drilling and Yates Petroleum president Peyton Yates, has been identified as the donor behind the restoration to Artesia’s first responders of a pay cut implemented in early August by the City of Artesia.
In a letter issued to Mayor Phillip Burch and the City of Artesia Sept. 20, the PY Foundation outlined the details of the grant.
Under the agreement, up to $350,000 was authorized to be used by the city to supplement compensation for 62 positions, including certified police officers, certified firefighters and EMTs, and the library supervisor and teen librarian at the Artesia Public Library.
The Daily Press obtained a copy of the grant agreement Oct. 3. The PY Foundation had asked that its donation remain anonymous as a gesture of goodwill; however, once the grant agreement was accepted by the city, it became a public document, and the Roswell Daily Record opted not to honor the foundation’s request for anonymity.
Under the terms of the agreement, the city will submit to the PY Foundation a written request for funds at the end of each pay period equal to the difference in the above-listed employees’ pay prior to the 10-percent cut implemented by the city in August.
The agreement states the grant will expire should compensation for the positions be restored by the city, should the full $350,000 allotted by the foundation be reached, or on Dec. 31, 2017, whichever comes first.
The city enacted the 10-percent pay cut across all city positions in August following discussions at their annual retreat in late July during which it was determined a cut was necessary in order to prevent a budget shortfall of approximately $4 million spurred by the downturn in the oil and gas industry.
City employees not included in the pay restoration grant have expressed frustration with the city’s decision to accept it. However, the city has maintained it could not in good conscience refuse an offer that aided more than 60 employees and will return all employees to full pay as soon as is fiscally possible.
Waster, wastewater and solid waste employees in particular have spoken out against the supplementation due to the fact their pay comes not from the general fund but from the enterprise fund supplied by residents’ payments for services rendered.