South Bend Common Council passes pay raises for city clerk and other employees

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Kareemah Fowler speaks after Mayor Pete Buttigieg endorsed her in 2015 (Photo supplied/ABC 57)

South Bend City Clerk Kareemah Fowler got almost all that she wanted.

Even though her current salary is in line with similar-sized cities, the South Bend Common Council agreed to give her a $10,000 pay raise Monday night, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Her salary will now be $69,500 after Council members voted 6-3 to give her the raise. Three Democrats opposed the raise: Oliver Davis, Dave Varner, and John Voorde.

Fowler initially asked for a $14,000 raise, claiming that she does more work than her previous salary called for.

The city controller is getting a 17 percent raise, the lead city attorney a 22 percent raise, and the parks director is getting a 23 percent raise. Those raises also passed by a 6-3 margin, with Regina Williams-Preston, Varner, and Davis opposed this time.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg defended the raises, saying they’re meant to help attract and retain talent. He told the South Bend Tribune that city staff needs to be paid “in a way that is competitive with what people make in comparable positions in other cities.”

The city also approved a new Teamsters contract by a unanimous 9-0 vote. That contract calls for a 2 to 2.5 percent raise in 2017, then 1.5 to 2 percent raises in the following three years.

The overall $369 million budget passed by a vote of 7-2 and includes $85 million for public safety, $88 million for economic development and $63 million for neighborhood improvements.

2 COMMENTS

  1. No mention of the hefty raise for the workers earning minimum wage to the new $10.10 level. How many workers got this? Is it fair to the skilled union workers only getting 2 -2.5% raise while non-skilled, non-union workers get a 20 – 25% raise. Mayor Buttigieg defended the raises (of the managers), saying they’re meant to help attract and retain talent. He sites no statistics of comparable sized (economically and populationally) cities. No reporter has researched this or at least published it.

    This is the fallacy of socialist agenda to create a living wage without also maintaining the need to offset the difference between skilled and unskilled labor. Unjustly rewarding a lower class of worker while demeaning and under appreciating an upper level worker only causes one individual to see no need to improve oneself and another to not care about performance of their job. Mayor Buttigieg obviously does not see the need to attract and retain the talent of SKILLED labor workers within the city.

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