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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A policy Wilmington City Council approved without discussion in November will limit the amount of benefits an employee can get if they are hurt on the job.

Some city workers are fired up, because they say nobody told them about the change.

“I don’t think we have done a very good job at all of explaining this to our employees,” city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said.

Talbert says the city should have done more to notify workers about their change in benefits.

In November City Manager Sterling Cheatham drafted a letter to council members recommending they reconsider the city’s workers compensation policy.

“We had been providing benefits that were more generous than what was required under state law, and now we are providing what is required under state law,” Talbert said.

The new policy eliminates paying employees like firefighters and police 100 percent of their salaries if they are hurt on the job while they wait to get workers compensation.

Chuck Bower is the president of the Professional Firefighters Association. He says he wishes somebody would have told him about this policy change before today.

“All employees of the City of Wilmington deserve to be treated fairly,” Bower said. “If you are injured in service to the city of wilmington then you should be able to not have to concern yourself with where your next pay check is going to come from.”

Talbert says the city is working on setting up meetings to talk about the benefits change, but Bower says more should have been done.

“I understand that it’s within the purview of the city manager and the council to do what’s necessary to mange the finances of the city, but this is a pretty significant change,” Bower said.

A change that now affects thousands of city employees.

In his proposal, which was adopted as part of council’s consent agenda Nov. 19, Cheatham said the move would save the city about $16,000 a year.

Cheatham told us he did not understand what we were asking about when we reached him by phone this morning. He also said he was too busy to do an interview.

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20 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: Wilmington whacks injury leave for cops, firefighters and city workers"

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Mike R
2015 years 11 months ago

Pinching what are essentially pennies to lose valuable service and morale. Wilmington is one of the wealthiest cities in the State and the public safety get treated like this? City is willing to chip in hundreds of thousands on Buck Hardee field (including a $40,000 scoreboard), but anger everyone to save $16,000! I’d leave too!

Robert Green
2015 years 11 months ago

Mr. CHEATham stating he is too busy for an interview is just stonewalling and dismissive. This behavior has no repercussions because he is strongly supported by a liberal city council , who do not hold him to a very high standard because he is the YES man for pet projects that drain hardworking taxpayers. Unfortunately , Wilmington , you deserve these bozos because you did not show up at the polls. The city of Wilmington has no true intentions of shoring up their basic services. They have their personal agendas at the forefront instead of making the… Read more »

2015 years 11 months ago

Cheatham’s protected by the City Council and the City Council’s apparently protected by the voters who rewarded them for all of their malfeasance by re-electing them.

The voters had a chance to at least attempt to make things better and instead they deliberately blew it.

It’s more than a little too late to be crying now.

2015 years 11 months ago

I don’t even feel sorry for them OR the citizens of Wilmington….you guys keep voting the same people into office…you got EXACTLY what you asked for!

2015 years 11 months ago

Wake up. Your City Council and City Manager have run amuck. Officers and firefighters are leaving in droves for better paying jobs. In desperation to fill the slots anyone will do, any warm body. After all, its cheaper to replace a veteran employee with a newer body at entry level pay. But when “any” body will do, you my fellow citizens will get precisely the level of service that you can expect from this sort of desperation hiring. When an employer treats their employees with this level of disdain to save a few bucks… Read more »

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