Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bentonville Employees to Get 5.8% Raise

City employees in Bentonville are scheduled to get a 5.8% cost-of-living salary adjustment next year. The raise is based on the Social Security Administration cost-of-living index. Last year, Bentonville employees received a 2.3% cost-of-living adjustment in the 2008 budget year.

Last week, Rogers Mayor Steve Womack proposed a 5% cost-of-living salary adjustment for Rogers city employees, except those making less than $41,600. City employees below that threshold will each earn $2,080 more in 2009 than they did in 2008, representing a $1 per hour raise, which is greater than a 5% boost.

Neither the 2008 nor the 2009 Fayetteville City Budget includes any cost-of-living raises for city employees. Mayor Coody has been telling people that if Alderman Lioneld Jordan is elected, then the Fayetteville Fire Fighters Association and the Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police could be able to request higher salaries, and that could lead to salary increases for all 730 of his city employees.

"We don't want to take the lead of so many other cities that are declaring bankruptcy to meet union demands," Coody told the Northwest Arkansas Times. When asked to name all those other cities, Coody has been pointing to Vallejo, California. In that San Francisco suburb of 120,000, we are told that 292 city employees made more than $100,000 last year.

In Fayetteville, we know that our highest paid city employee is Dan Coody, and his salary this year is $107,038.88 plus a $5,000 car allowance. In the last four years, Coody's base salary has increased from $83,312 to $107,038. That's a $24,000 raise, a 28% increase since the last election and an average of 7% a year, but Coody has said there is no money available for cost of living raises for other city employees.

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