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The Daily Tar Heel

Town Employees Say Pay Rate Inequitable

Steve England, spokesman for the Black Public Works Association, said the system gave new employees equal or greater benefits than experienced staff members.

"The basic problem is that new people with no experience are making as much if not more than what we are,"England said.

The plan England proposed to the council Tuesday would give every employee with five years of experience an annual 1 percent salary increase until his or her 20th year of employment.

Council member Julie McClintock called the proposal ambitious and said the Town Council would address specifics at a work session on April 15.

Lonnie Degraffenreidt, construction crew leader for the BWPA, said that when new employees made more than experienced workers, it created tension in the workplace.

"It puts a bad feeling in our heart,"he said. "We always put in a 100 percent effort, and it makes people feel bad when they think they're doing a great job and they get paid less."

Council member Joe Capowski said the council had been studying the payroll issue and, because two-thirds of the budget is made up of salaries and benefits, any decision would impact the 1999-2000 budget.

"We want to change the system to minimize salary compression, provide good salary increases for lower-paid employees and provide rewards for good work,"he said. "We also want to simplify the current system what we have now is much too complex."

England said he had lobbied the council for change in the past with varied success.

"We have noticed a number of changes in the areas we have previously requested," he said.

Capowski said the council would work hard to make a change and that a final decision would be made by the first week in June, when the final budget must be drafted.

England said he was not sure the council would take action. "It had the look that it was well received, but it has looked that way in the past."

Staff Writer Kellee Schreiner contributed to this report.

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