Published: 1:58 pm, Thu. Oct. 27th, 2016Updated: 1:56 pm
The Artesia City Council heard again from a representative of the city’s Solid Waste Department regarding city employees’ 10-percent pay cut during a short meeting Tuesday.
Dave Davies approached the council regarding the ongoing debate over the pay cut, which took effect Aug. 1 and has become a source of contention amongst city staff since the reinstatement of full pay for the community’s certified police officers and firefighters, and two librarians, by a private grant.
Since word of the grant reached city employees in mid-September, staff with the water, wastewater and solid waste departments have expressed frustration due to the fact their salaries issue from an enterprise fund supplied by residents’ payments for services rendered rather than the city’s general fund. Those employees have argued that they accepted the 10-percent pay cut in a show of solidarity but that once pay was restored for 62 city positions, theirs should have followed suit.
However, the grant, which was accepted by the council late last month, states the $350,000 allotted to cover 10 percent of the specified employees’ salaries would expire prior to its stated Dec. 31, 2017, end date should compensation for any city employees be restored by the council.
Davies requested the council speak to the donor and ask that the clause be reworded to allow for full pay to be reinstated for employees paid from enterprise funds.
The council also heard Tuesday from Andy Blanco of Artesia Disc Golf regarding the disc golf course Blanco hopes to install at Jaycee Park.
Blanco brought the matter before the council last month after speaking with the Infrastructure Department and was asked to consult with the Recreation Department, as well. With both of those entities agreeable to his idea, the council gave permission Tuesday to move forward in the discussion process.
Blanco has stated the necessary materials as well as labor for their installation would be covered by private funds and/or volunteers, and that he needs only the space in which to erect the course.
In other business, the council approved the hiring of three new employees – Mario Samaniego, uncertified firefighter, at a pay rate of $2,482 per month; Preston Wilson, uncertified firefighter, $2,482 per month; and Brittany Perez, Cashier I, $1,834 per month – and rescinded an offer from Sept. 27 to hire one uncertified firefighter. Permission was granted to advertise and fill the position of recreation specialist.
As part of its consent agenda, the council approved:
• the resignation of Cedric Perez, water technician, effective Oct. 28.
• permission to set a public hearing for Nov. 22 for consideration of a zone change from SU-1 Special Use District to C Commercial Business District and R-2 Residential District to SU-1 for 507 S. 13th St. and 1208 W. Dallas Ave.
• permission to set a public hearing for Nov. 22 for consideration of the Master Lube PPA and ordinance.
• permission for one police employee to attend the Instructor Development Course in Lovington.
• permission for one fire employee to attend Fire Inspector I training in Socorro.
• permission for one fire employee to attend Fire Inspector II training in Socorro.
• permission for one Artesia Clean & Beautiful employee to attend the Keep America Beautiful Affiliate meeting in Las Cruces.
• a request by Jeremy Kern, representing Boy Scout Troop 219, for the use of Heritage Walkway from 2-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, for the annual Pumpkin Glow.