OGDEN — After going three quarters of the fiscal year without their customary wage increases, Ogden City employees have now been made whole.
The Ogden City Council approved a pair of measures Tuesday night that will result in immediate 4% pay raises for all full-time city employees, excluding Mayor Mike Caldwell and Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson. Ogden Human Resources Director Leslie Judkins said the city employees also will be paid retroactively, assuming the 4% raise, dating back to July 1, 2020.
The employees will receive a one-time stipend this month, which factors in the retroactive salary adjustment, Judkins said.
Ogden Comptroller Lisa Stout said the plan, which also includes some travel appropriations, resulted in a nearly $2 million amendment to the city’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
The decision to forgo the raises that have become essentially a matter of course was made when the city adopted its 2021 budget last summer. Like many other governmental agencies across the nation, Ogden officials anticipated significant tax revenue losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The city undertook a host of other cost-cutting measures and Caldwell said the COVID-19-driven budget was the most conservative of his nine-year tenure as mayor.
But after the budget was passed, throughout the remainder of 2020 and into the first few months of 2021, tax revenues taken in by the city consistently surpassed expectations and even increased from the prior year when the pandemic had no impact.
Caldwell said Tuesday his administration has kept a keen eye fixed on the city’s financial situation since the outbreak of the pandemic and implementing the retroactive pay raises was simply the right thing to do.
“We’re just in a better position than a lot of other communities,” the mayor said.
And while city employees will now be getting an influx of cash, the city is also reviewing an in-depth employee compensation study that was recently completed by financial consultant Evergreen Solutions. Among other things, the study recommends the city increase pay ranges for employees. The study says Ogden salaries are not competitive with surrounding cities and counties, which hurts recruitment and retention efforts. Council members have expressed support with Evergreen’s recommendations.
“The council members have all been really concerned about the regular pay increase for the city employees over the course of the pandemic, so we really appreciate ... this plan,” said Council member Angela Choberka. “(And) we’re all very pleased that the benchmark study has been completed and we can have further conversations about that too.”