Wilmington council considers $1.2M for bonuses, employee party

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Submitted: Tue, 11/15/2011 - 4:59am
Updated: Tue, 11/15/2011 - 5:36pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s been nearly three years since Wilmington city employees have received a bonus, but tomorrow night council could approve $1.2 million to give workers a boost.

The city says the money for the bonuses largely comes from vacant positions and the restructuring of jobs.

If council approves the $1.2 million, the majority of city employees will get $1,000 come December.

The city says in the last three years employees have had to deal with a reduction in benefits and have also had to pay more for their health insurance.

Several council members say the bonuses are long overdue. They say the money to pay bonuses is only there because city employees have worked hard.

“Our employees have worked for this bonus,” Councilman Ronald Sparks said. “They are working double time, working more jobs because we have not filled open positions. Even though I would have liked to see this money put on road improvements or whatever — this is a chance to give them a bonus when they have not had a bonus in so long.”

The city also plans to use up to $7,000 of the money for an employee appreciation party.


  • Clevenative says:

    I’d like a bonus but I’m too lazy to work

  • Equality says:

    They should give the extra money to those of us on welfare. We deserve it.

  • Guest4098574 says:

    If you don’t pay people what they deserve they will go elsewhere. Cops and firefighters in our city are some of the lowest paid in the state. The good ones are going to leave to make more money. I grew up in Wilmington and now have a family of my own. I am willing to give up a park or fixing a road to ensure the people protecting my family are the very best. Please pay these people, they deserve a lot more then they get and I know my family in particular are very greatful for them.

  • Guest11212121 says:

    Also, some of them would not have a city if not for the blood, sweat and tears of the men and women that work for this city

  • Guest9743 says:

    They are giving it back to the taxpayers (the city employees), the “some of them” that you’re referring to that don’t have jobs don’t pay any taxes.

  • Guest55555 says:

    That would be a little hard to do, since the city and CFPUA are totally separate entities.

    CFPUA is not connected with the city; it’s a totally separate company. CFPUA sets it’s own rate charges for water and sewer; they aren’t set by the city.

  • Guest8989 says:

    It has not been 3 years without a bonus. It has been 3 years without a raise while they continue to slash benefits. I have worked for the city over 3 years making less than 30k trying to support a wife and 2 kids. I have never once called in sick never been late and never complained about compensation. Saw this on the news and was excited I might actually get to buy my wife and kids a Christmas present this year. This one time bonus is not going to hurt anyone, still not giving us even a cost of living raise which is long over due and that is fine. I know an extra $850 in my paycheck would mean a whole lot to my family.

  • Guest1234512345 says:

    How are city workers responsible for that? They can’t control who is employed and who isn’t. By the way, they’re taxpayers too.

  • Truth Police says:

    Racist that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard!!! I feel dumber for having read it! Why don’t you get off your butt and get a job! And for the thought that you deserve it, deserve what? You deserve to be taken off welfare and thrown on the streets until you get a job! This country was built upon the shoulders of workers who carried the burden of doing….. and now is being destroyed by leaches such as you! Get a life/job!

  • Guest787865 says:

    I am sure the person wanting more welfare had to be joking. I know there are a lot of stupid people out there but they cant be that stupid, I doubt they are even on welfare, based on the facts that they are on a news website and that they are awake before noon.

  • taxpayeriam says:

    Without the private sector paying taxes you would not have the public sector workers which only pay taxes with tax money from the private sector the government does not create money to pat public workers only the private sector,so who should receive any monies not spent the people would paid the money or the people how take the money.

  • Guest658 says:

    Hiring more people just increases operating cost. Why do you think large companies pay time and a half for overtime and bonuses for extra work instead of hiring additional people. It is always more cost effective to pay an existing worker extra for additional work than hire a new employee. A bonus is a one time expense, hiring a new employee is a reoccuring annual expense. Business 101. Wake up Wilmington, quit complaining and get involved at the polls if you don’t like the status quo. The recent City Council election was decided by less than 300 votes.

  • Guest3 says:

    They know it’s a “volunteer” position from the very beginning, so that’s a non-issue.

    I would think that if they ever want to apply for a full time paid position, then their standing as a reserve officer would be taken into consideration.

  • Guest20 says:

    If you ask most city employees, they will tell you that they would prefer to drop the party and have cash money. The party has always been something that city management has pushed, not something that employees want.

  • guesty says:

    I was going to respond but I figured he was nothing more than a troll.

  • GuestBonus says:

    Even if the bonus is approved, then mine will go right back to the city to pay property taxes. Christmas is out of consideration for my family this year, but at least we will have a roof over our heads.

  • guesty says:

    Yes, they go into it full well knowing they will not be paid. Seems like if there is extra money that the city is hot to spend, spend some on the people that are risking their lives for no compensation.

  • Guest20 says:

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Guest20 says:

    “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” – President Harry S. Truman.

    Do YOU even know what you just said?

  • Guest3456 says:

    It is true private corporations and citizen pay taxes to fund the operation of goverment. The alternative is to pay for the services recieved directly. We often overlook the benefits of living in a modern world and forget the cost of living in a thriving commuity. When you need help in the middle of the night or the water isn’t flowing from the tap you call a “Public Sector” worker. After a storm when trees are blocking your street or your street is flooded you call a “Public Sector” worker. When a “Private Sector” employee drives to work or their company ships/receives materials it is over a street network designed and maitained by “Public Sector” workers. When thngs are going bad and infrastructure failures are creating difficulties “Public Sector” worker take the blame. What effect have the city staff reductions had for most of us. I haven’t seen any reduction of services, emergencies are handled, firemen still respond, traffic signal function, garbage is collected, potholes filled and streetlights illuminate are nights. Someone is picking up the slack. Is it possible the “lazy gub-mint” workers that are the butt of everyones jokes are actually conscientious, dedicated workers who are doing their job for more than just financial compensation.
    Back to the origanal topic, goverments depend on taxes from private corporations and citizens- some of whom are also goverment employees- and private citizen and corporations depend on the services and infrastructure provide by goverment. It is a 2 way street.

  • brendle99 says:

    Give the money to CFPUA so they can stop raping me on my water bill.

  • Guest85 says:

    Awesome! This means taxes will be lowered in 2012! How about a rebate for 2011?!

  • progressive citizen says:

    Give them the bonus! Positions have not been filled and current employees are doing double work. The bonus will reward the loyalty of hard workers who have remained with the city during tough times rather than going elsewhere. PLUS, giving local workers a much deserved bonus at Christmas will help stimulate the local economy. Local workers spend their money in local stores. Mr. Cheatham, this is great leadership!

  • Jennifer says:

    Why not hire people for with that money?? People need jobs not a bonus!! That would be wasteful spending at its best!! Let’s Party!!!

  • Guest54321 says:

    Ron Sparks is right. The city employees continue to perform and provide all services even with many positions vacant or eliminated. Most of the budget cuts thus far are from staff reductions but city staff is still expect to provide the same level of service. How long can we expect the city employees to continue to perform the extra work required to maintain these services at current levels when the budget is being balanced on their backs. There are many areas, in the city budget, where savings could be realized but when it comes to employees you get what you pay for. If you want to have the workers that couldn’t make it anywhere else responding when you have an emergency or answering questions when dealing with complicated issues just keep forcing the good employees to go elsewhere for adequate pay. Look at the number of vacant positions because employees have left to go to the private sector or other municipalities that are providing adequate compensation. I’m all for eliminating wasteful spending and pet projects but let’s not blame the employees for the mistakes we residents make at the polls. Everyone screams for changes and transparency but the same people are elected year after year.

  • Guest02 says:

    A majority of people work their whole LIFE with no work place bonus. Are you kidding me, the city workers have gone three whole years with no bonus and the tax payers are supposed to foot the bonus bill?
    Jobs have been cut and the lucky ones with a job are now going to get a party and a bonus. WOW. I seriously hope this is not approved.

  • BROKE says:

    Give the money back to the taxpayers,some of them don’t have jobs !

  • guesty says:

    The auxiliary (reserve) police officers with the Wilmington Police Department are not even paid. It is strictly a “volunteer” position. They have to go through all the same training & hiring requirements as a full time officer. When they go to court, no pay. When they go to training, no pay. There are no medical benefits other than coverage if they get hurt only while working. Most reserve officers work full time jobs and are giving their time to the city due to wanting to help out or to fulfill the need to serve their community.

  • Guest Reply says:

    You that didn’t vote last week put the same ones right back in office where they wanted you to. First we are millions in the hole for budget…now 1.2 million heavy???????
    This city is an absolute “JOKE”!!!!
    Wallow in it!

  • Guest2020 says:

    My husband went for many years without a pay raise. At the same time our insurance premiums were going up, we managed and did not complain, after all, he did have a job. Well, he had a job until the state cut the program he worked for. If the pay raises are a reasonable expense that can be afforded, then go for it. As for the party, I believe it to be an unnecessary expense therefore they shouldn’t do it. I am sure the city’s employee’s will be able to carry on without it.

  • John says:

    Really.. Do the math. $7,000 for a party for 1,200 people… that is only $5.83 per person. I don’t have a problem with feeding our city workers during a christmas party.

    As for the $1,000 bonus….. I think $500 might be more appropriate in this economic climate. $500 would buy all santas gifts and them some… Maybe stash the remaining $600,000 for an emergency.

    As for the water bill… well that is complete BS. I now get a flat rate of about $50 per month plus overages per 1,000 gallons coming and going… We live adjacent to one of the largest rivers in the state and and still have the highest rates around. My sister lives in raleigh and there water bill is much lower than ours. I’m paying approximately $75 per month and she is paying $35-$40 and has two kids.

  • Guest44444 says:

    Gosh I think all of us would like a $7ooo party…really! There are many of us who have not had a raise or bonus or whatever you want to call it and there are those of us that are doing more than one persons job because of layoffs or positions not filled. Can you guys not justify this a little better instead of trying to sugar coat it like we should all support this. REALLY! It will be interesting to see if newcomers are the same as the good ole boys or if they will put a stop to this.

  • deputy 25 says:

    well, let me ask you a question. did you take calls before you found out about a possible raise and bonus?? you sound like the Leland officer who said the same thing. are you in fact a lawman or fireman?? i am a Deputy , went for years without bonuses or a raise, my attitude was that i still did what i held my hand up and my other on the Bible to do according to my oath. nothing was mentioned that i dont take calls if i didn’t get a raise. as far as handling it myself, i can and will. the taxpayers who are not getting raises can’t keep supporting bonues and payouts. take the money and put in equipment that depts need or a rainy day fund for now. just want to spend money when they got it, cant wait to blow it. r u gonna give me my raise?? i didn’t get one, but town does. by the way, how about mentioning that the next time you want your trash picked up, handle it yourself, solid waste needs raises, water depts, sewer depts , town maintenance you are not the only one that serves the town, if you even serve the town???

  • Guest12 says:

    So you dont think firefighters and police officers need to get paid?..next time you need help dont call 911…..handle it yourself!

  • Guest1040 says:

    Poppycock, this article is talking about giving a bonus to CITY employees, not COUNTY employees. This was the first, in over three years, that county employees were eligible for a 1% pay raise. For me, that amounts to a whopping $8 in my paycheck. Those bonus days off you refer to? Those were called FURLOUGH days. Also known as forced days off without pay. Since 2008, county employees have had to take off 18 days without pay… I wouldn’t call that much of a bonus; it was more like a 5% reduction in pay. So, please, shut up.

  • poppycock says:

    state employees have had no raise,bonus leave,or bonus for 3 years. NHCO employees already have received bonus days off and now 1k bonus. Are you flipping kidding me? What about street repairs? Just give all the money to Padgett so she can travel more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GetaClue says:

    You’re right – get all the free water you want – take buckets down to the Cape Fear River and fill them up. Drink/use it and take your chances of contracting e. coli, crypto or some other water borne illness. Ever stop to think you’re paying for the treatment process (machines/equipment/pumps = electricity & maintenance; chemicals (so you don’t get sick); etc. Not to mention the convenience of having the water delivered to you 24/7.

    If you look at your water bill more closely you’ll realize CFPUA bills for bi-monthly services which means 2 months. Raleigh charges monthly. You do the math!

    Better yet, jump off the CFPUA bashing bandwagon and educate yourself.

  • taxpayeriam says:

    Do they pay you above average wages as most of the workers a CFPUA except for the ones that have to the dirty work field hands.

  • John says:

    I have done the math. And the flat fees were an average for each month. You need to educate yourself and read the study and reasons behind the increase. “Economic conditions have affected the authority’s bottom line because customers decreased their water consumption.” This is straight from the study. So what does CFPU do.. they increase peoples rates for using less water all because their interest rate on a bond is increasing.

    Prices have doubled since CFPUA has taken over.

    The question I want to know is how can the CFPUA allow for the unlimited use of water for irrigation at the first tier price of a very low price while punishing families with second and third tier pricing for essential household use? The answer is simple: There is no explanation.

    The bottom line is we have the worst water authority in the state. Mr. Jordan gives himself a raise of $22,000k in 2009 brining his salary to $160,000. Also some of our public should know that According to CFPUA statistics approximately half their customers pay second tier rates. You’ve got the CEO of this organization who thinks it’s OK to charge some families a 50% premium so he can give other customers a break on their bill. In most parts of the world this is called discrimination. It’s unbelievable that this could be public policy in 2011.”

    So to the writer called “get a clue” you get a clue and take your buckets and fill them with the crap you wrote on this website.

  • deputy 25 says:

    you need to quit!!! we haven’t expected it for free all these years, did you sign an oath, take an oath to do your job unless you didn’t get a raise. times are tough, but i do not see the compassion in someone in it for public service. change jobs or quit belly aching. i have worked when not getting a raise for the gub-mint, bonus and benefits were reduced and higher insurance premiums. had to change my home budget to get by and make do until it got a little better. now if you feel the way you do about taking care of ourselves, then you need to quit and let someone who took the oath to do a job go in there and do it. you act just like a spoiled brat not getting their way!!! be thankful you got income and not in the unemployment line like millions of other peole. there are plenty willing to make changes to their home budget to make up for a shortfall and have a job and not complain when we don’t get a raise. you sound like an Occupy wall streeter.depending on the gub-mint [tax payer] to keep you up than the tax payers are getting. we pay taxes that work in gub-mint job so your taxes will go up too! i bet you complain about that as well. i better not ever hear anyone around me that is a firefighter, ems or lawman say , take care of it yourselves. because i will take care of it then and there. can you day fired!! i would send them home right then. you dont take it out on someone that has no descision in providing raises, bonues or not when they need services that they have paid for and you swore to uphold. stay home if you dont care before you get sent home for good!

  • get over it says:

    Go ahead and complain people.obviously you are those people who want police and firefighters when YOU are in trouble and you expect people to do it for free. dont call 911 then…take care of it yourselves!

  • Guestofthestate says:

    The money the State gives the City is actually taxes collected by the State on the City’s behalf. All sales and highway tax are collected by the State and then returned to the proper agency even local city and county sales tax. Basically the State collects the money draws interest on the money then decides if they will return it to the proper agency. Sometimes they decide to keep a part or all the money even though it was collected for the local communities.

  • Guest43 says:

    The state will not give their employees a raise and may even RIF more employees in January 2012, yet the state gives the city money to operate each year. If the city has extra money to give their employees a raise then maybe the state needs to reduce the amount given to the city so the state can function without RIF ing employees. There are a lot of people that had to suffer these last few years and giving city employees a bonus or raise is just sticking a knife in an open wound.

  • deputy says:

    first of all, you didn’t mention trash pick up and other city workers. i do answer fire calls for free[ volunteer ] i even teach cpr/first aid/aed free of charge to the public and do not get a cent more for it at all!it is called giving back to the community. you dont hear me saying handle it yourself!! i have been in law for 25 years and a lot of times we had no raises and when we did our cost of living was higher than what the raise covered. as far as my soap box, i dont take kindly to threats of city workers saying, fight your own fire or call someone else other than 911. that is not what they took an oath to do!! if you are gonna be a cry baby because people are saying dont spend this money then you need to put your diapers back on and go suck your thumb in a corner somewhere. as far as putting myself in their shoes i have for 25 years and a lot more have before me with little or no pay or thanks, but we did what we wore we would do and with less equipment and technology. the thing is you need to walk in the same shoes and make cuts in your own budget instead of holding a carrot out in front of them to try and get moral up that way. you want moral up, be thankful you even have a job,that should be moral enough for now. until things maybe get better. make do with what you have and quit crying about it. now get off your soapbox and make do with what you have and quit depending on “money” all the time to make things better. spend spend spend, that is all the libs want to do. cant save a dime.they better save it, you might need it later to save some of those jobs and long as what we have in dc are still in there. as far as roads go mr, tell your state reps to take my gas tax money and fix it, that is where it is suppose to go for the police, fire ems to drive down ,lord knows i dont want to hit a pot hole and fall off the stretcher! i have always give to volunteer firefighters even being one myself and teaching cpr/first aid. i supported the fire tax in my district, but dont ask for more or spend what you do have so darn quick just to keep people doing a job they should be doing anyway. we all have had to tighten the purse strings. i haven’t asked for a raise and i did vote against a bonus raise. the thing about that is , there are some who go above and beyond and some who dont, but get rewarded for doing just enough. that is what is wrong with this country. something for nothing!

  • Guest1234512345 says:

    I noticed you didn’t mention how the county gave you a 1% increase about 6 months ago….if you’re a New Hanover County Deputy. But maybe you’re a Brunswick or Pender County Deputy. Either way, I would think that you would be happy for your fellow officers.

    That old green eyed monster is a b*tch, isn’t she?

  • Guest12 says:

    Your right deputy, I dont serve the town,I serve a City! and your right again,every worker deserves this as no raises have been given out in years and we all are still here doing our jobs.What I was saying is how people want us there to serve them and they demand it, they just dont want to pay for it.They want it for free.

  • Guest4848490 says:

    So you “can and will handle it yourself”? So you are going to take your trash to the dump every week? If your house catches fire you are going to put it out yourself? If you have a heart attack are you going to give yourself CPR? Good luck with that, let us know how that works out for you. Get off your soap box deputy. Now that everyone knows how great you are, take a minute and put yourself in their shoes. We are all sorry you didn’t get a raise, I haven’t had one either, but if the county wanted to give you a thousand dollars and put off fixing a road for 1 more year I couldn’t see myself crying about it. I am sure if the county wanted to give you a bonus you would be the first to object becuase we need to put that money away for a rainy day right? We are going to pay taxes one way or another and I would rather pay cops, firefighters, and other city workers a little extra to keep morale up and keep the good ones working for us than buy a parking lot somwhere or remodel a road.

  • Guest3 says:

    Did I miss something? Did this guy say he was a firefighter or an officer? Did you stop to think that maybe he’s just a citizen who believes it’s time that city workers get a raise?

    You assume that because he’s FOR an increase for city employees that he’s a city employee himself. That’s not necessarily so. You sure do assume a lot.

  • City Worker says:

    Hey Deputy, I have been with this great city for 15 years and will remain for another 15 at least because I am a fire fighter and it is a life style not just a job. I took this job knowing I was not going to get rich. I took it because I love to help others in any way I can. I do this whether I am on the clock or at home. If you work for NHC then you should know that the City of Wilmington raises 80% of all the taxes in the county. And you should also know that we only keep 23% of that money and the rest goes to the county. I am not belly aching about my pay. Of course I would love to make more so my family could be a little more comfortable, but you cannot sit on that soap box and say if you were offered a one time bonus after not having a raise in over three years, as well as having your benefits cut, and insurance going through the roof, that you would turn it down. If you do, then I am scared that you may be one that may have to take a report for me some day because you are not a very smart individual!

  • Stingrazor says:

    Idiots. Tax and spend. Tax and spend. Layoff, tax and spend. How many jobs will this cost in the future?

  • christian says:

    Actually stingrazor. The city has yet to layoff employees. Employees have also seen over a 10% reduction in pay in due to more vendors and costs of living.
    Take a look at other cities across the US where firefighters and police officers have been laid off. Check out how their cities are burning, emergency medical response has doubled and crime is on the rise.
    Alas, you are probably more worried about what YOU get out off all of this.

  • Guest123456789 says:

    Funny how this didn’t come up prior to the election. WOW!

  • Guest_Spender says:

    Of courese, there is some extra money. We better find a way to spend it.

    How about putting it in a savings account for next year when you are short somewhere else?

  • Guest-of-the-day says:

    as long as you follow it up with a “tax payer appreciation day” and give us all 1,000$ breaks on our taxes.

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