ONLY ON 3: Wilmington City Manager finally talks about policy change that surprised staff
 

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It took some time, but we finally got Wilmington's city manager to talk about a policy that has a lot of city workers upset.

We told you last night workers are just finding out about a policy that changes the way they're paid if they get hurt on the job.

"It was simply to bring our workers compensation program in line, a benefit that is paid for by tax payers, in line with the same benefits," Cheatham said.

When we finally caught up with Cheatham at a meeting last night, he said he misunderstood our question earlier in the day about the policy change city council passed without discussion in November that would stop paying workers hurt on the job as they wait for workers compensation coverage to kick in.

Cheatham says the city is trying to contain the cost of workers compensation.

"It takes away from the money that could otherwise be spent for employee raises and those kinds of things," he said. "We have been looking and will continue to look for ways to reduce our cost so we can pay our employees better."

In Cheatham's original proposal to city council, he said this move would save the city $16,000 a year.

Cheatham says the city does have programs in place if that can help with compensation.

City spokeswoman Malissa Talbert says this policy change will probably only affect fewer than 10 people per year.

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This is typical. The city has found a way to save $16,000.00 dollars a year on the backs of people that are already under paid by area standards. This from a group that wastes 100s of thousands on baseball stadium studies and buys prime riverfront property for a park and takes this property off the tax rolls. If they cut the "bosses" salaries to the area standard..........they would save much more than $16,000.00 dollars a year. The stupidity never ceases to amaze............

"We have been looking and will continue to look for ways to reduce our cost so we can pay our employees better."

Here is an idea, quit wasting money on stupid projects. How much was wasted on fountain lights? How about the almost 4 million spent for a downtown park? Maybe you could buy another parking deck, hold it for 2 years and then sell it for 1/2 of what you paid.

As long as Wilmington residents keep voting in the same crooks to city council, we will get the same results.

Both police and fire risk their lives for our lives every single day! There should be "extra" coverage if they are hurt on the job!

The city can cut money if they would take money from the higher ups that make so much and do nothing but create more problems. Its a shame they are always looking to cut money from the police and fireman that make nothing anyway.

It seems very interesting to see what the Priorities of the Wilmington City Council are. We are now just learning about what they quietly passed in the Consent Agenda on November 19, 2013. The Council voted to approve the City Manager's desired changes to cut compensation for employees injured on the job. This council already knows that its employee pay is lagging below market rate, especially for police officers and firefighters, but it still voted to cut injured employee's pay even more to potentially save the city $16,000 a year. Sad to see that the same council that banked a 6.5 million budget surplus in the prior fiscal year decided to spend 3.9 million dollars on their desired additional riverfront park land in the same meeting that they once again hurt their employees financially. In the same meeting they also voted to include the Mayor and Council members salaries in future across the board pay increases that they may approve. Check out the November 19th Meeting Minutes and a few other related articles. It is time for some major changes in City Hall!

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