KEYSER - City of Keyser employees will be receiving an across-the-board raise, thanks to the city council and members of the water and sanitary boards.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
@lizbeavers1
KEYSER - City of Keyser employees will be receiving an across-the-board raise, thanks to the city council and members of the water and sanitary boards.
City administrator Randy Amtower told the mayor and council this week that the water and sewer boards had voted to give the hourly employees of those departments a 1.5 percent raise - as long as the council approved the same amount for the remainder of the hourly employees.
Water and sewer department employees are paid out of their own department budgets and are under the jurisdiction of the separate utility boards, while other employees are paid from the general fund and any raise must be approved by the council.
Some employees - like city clerk Brandi Paugh, who works with both water and sewer - are paid proportionately from each department budget.
Amtower said the water and sanitary boards wanted the council to approve the raise for the general employees in order to be fair to all.
The question came up, however, about raises for the city’s salaried employees.
“When was the last time the salary employees got raises?” council member Jen Junkins asked.
“It’s been awhile,” Amtower admitted.
Police chief Karen Shoemaker noted that, with hourly employees receiving raises and salaried employees receiving no raises, the hourly employees’ pay “keeps inching up” toward the supervisors’ pay “and they don’t have near the responsibility.”
Council member Karol Ashenfelter said she feels the raises should be across the board - both salaried and hourly employees.
Eric Murphy agreed.
“It needs to be across the board … the city employees, across the board, are the backbone of this city.”
Amtower estimated that across-the-board raises, at 1.5 percent, would cost the city a total of $11,812.98, counting benefits but not counting any overtime.
“Can our budget handle this?” Terry Liller asked.
“I’ll make it work,” Amtower said.
Junkins therefore made a motion to approve the 1.5 percent raises for everyone except any seasonal workers, and Murphy seconded it.
The motion passed 5-0.