Keyser City Council: Pay discrepancies may have to wait awhile to be corrected
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Pay discrepancies among the City of Keyser’s employees may have to wait for awhile to be corrected, according to the Keyser City Council.
During a work session Thursday, the five city council members discussed the pay scale for employees in the water, sewer and streets departments and how they are not currently in line with where they should be.
Previously, during the council’s Aug. 26 meeting, the officials noted that pay scales which had been adopted by the former administration were never enacted, creating an inequality among the workers.
Council member Jennifer Junkins said during that meeting that part of the problem is that the new pay scale was not properly recorded.
“The copy of the chart was not attached to the minutes and were not put into the computer,” she said. “Nobody’s following the pay scale … It’s come to my attention … that over half of the employees are not getting paid at the correct rate.”
“Even the 2015 scale was never put into the minutes,” mayor Damon Tillman added at that time.
Council member Jim Hannas, who is also the city’s streets and sewer supervisor, said some of the discrepancies have been going on even earlier than 2017.
According to Hannas, when he passed training for his job in 2012, which normally came with a bump up in pay, “the city administrator at the time said that it was part of my job.”
Tillman said he feels the city needs to make things right for the employees, but “it’s going to hurt” financially.
“Just for Jim alone, that’s about $8,320 back pay,” he said of Hannas, adding, however, that “we’ve got to figure this out and we’ve got to get these people paid.
“This was done before (us), and we’ve got to correct the wrong,” he said.
Thursday, however, council member and finance commissioner Mike Ryan said, “The problem with the water and sewer (departments) is that we have no money.”
The officials noted that they will be seeking a rate increase “down the road,” and that would figure in to any new pay scale.
“We need to study this,” Ryan said, suggesting they “push it down the road a little until we see about the rate increase.”
He estimated that, taking into consideration the process they must go through to implement a rate increase and have it approved by the state’s Public Service Commission, “we’re probably a year away” from having an increase in place.