City approves bonuses and party for employees

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Submitted: Wed, 11/16/2011 - 4:46am
Updated: Wed, 11/16/2011 - 8:34pm

WILMINGTON NC (WWAY) — The issue of bonuses for city employees was expected to be a hot button topic at tonight’s city council meeting, but with no public opposition, council passed the motion unanimously.

The Mayor says all of the money for the bonuses and the party for city employees came from payroll cuts and budget reductions over the past two years.

With it’s cut backs the city has saved the 1.2 million dollars to fund the bonuses and all departments are challenged to continue to save.

Here are the numbers: $1,000 for current full time employees, pro rated for current part time, $100 for other employees and $7,000 for a party

Mayor Saffo says, “It is time to to say thank you to city employees who have faced cuts”.

With the bonuses coming just in time for the holidays, council members hope the money makes for a Merry Christmas and flows back into the local economy.


  • interesada says:

    How many employees does the city have? If all the money is to be used on the bonuses and “party” then my math tells me about 1,000 employees but that sounds out of the ballpark. How is the remainder of the funds going to used?

  • Guest111711 says:

    First I am happy for the employees of the City of Wilmington as I am sure they deserve it. I am surprised though as I have always been told as a local government or State employee, that bonuses were not allowed with public funds but perhaps the City is structured differently. I can only hope that the County Commissioners and management can learn from the City and provide us with compensation for our hard work in the near future. In my case, I have gone without a raise for five years while everything has increased including our work load but I am thankful for my job and pray they will recognize our dedication.

  • GuestK says:

    Where I work, we are awarded bonuses based on our longevity at the job and the proformance, and what we brought to the table for our business in the past year. I am very blessed to have such a job, and I am inspired to do more because it benefits my company and my family.

    I find it difficult to believe that $1000.00 would be given out unilaterally based on being “full time” only. That means that the employees that work hard, give input, strive to make the difference get exactly the same as an employee who slacks off, could care less except for the paycheck, and doesn’t appreciate the opportunity they have. Believe me, these people work for the City of Wilmington, just like they do for any corporation! If I was a go-getter and worked for the city, I would be pretty upset at this whole notion.

    And $7,000.00 for a party? PLEASE! Tell me why everyone couldn’t just get together and bring a covered dish and have a good old time! How many families would the additional $7000.00 have helped.

    I know, I didn’t go to the meeting either, because I don’t live in the city limits, but still, people of Wilmington, think about it….you SHOULD have been there.

    Now all of you who have reading retention deficit, which is rampant it seems, I am happy for the employees to receive these bonuses. I simply think the method of dispersement is unfair and the party is a waste of money.

  • sam says:

    maybe brunswick county can find a little this year for a cost of living raise it’s only been 5 years snce the last one!!!!

  • Guest Reply says:

    Bookmark this story so when the city council starts crying about how they can’t balance the city budget…well…do I need to go on?
    On the flip side of this bonus…when they find out 45% of it is eaten away in taxes and pension holdings/then will be adjusted gross income filing next year…it won’t seem as sweet as the media is making it. The $1,000 take home will be more like $250. Just saying…..

  • Guest yea right says:

    Absolute arrogance. Tough times call for tough decisions, I guess times are not as tough as we’re being told.
    Bill Saffo don’t cry poor mouth if you’ve got 1.2 million to throw around.

  • GuestAmazed says:

    It’s so funny how you admit you weren’t at the council meeting, but you continue to ramble on and give your uneducated opinion about how city employees should feel about giving part of their bonus to short timers.

    No, I’m not a city employee. But I watched the meeting, and I can tell you that city employees believe they are all in this together, whether they are long term or short term, and unlike some selfish people, they believe in sharing what they get with their fellow coworkers.

    What’s the point in having an appreciation party for employees if you make them bring their own dish? How ridiculous is that? You’re going to fault them for giving their employees a few hot dogs? Really?

    Honestly, your job must be to spread ignorance.

  • Guest12 says:

    Since you dont live in the city limits then your opinion does not count!

  • GuestDoubtful says:

    Are you kidding? Can’t finish your last thought because you don’t think I can take it, or it won’t take? I would love for you to leave me with your one last thought. I can almost smell the smoke from the friction of your brain cells rubbing together to conjur it up. I have an almost endless capacity to handle insults…give it a shot.

  • Guest20 says:

    How I do wish you would stop putting words in my mouth. That’s a sign of an ignorant man. But you’re probably used to feeling that way.

    It’s not YOUR job to hold anyone accountable for anything. It’s your job to hold yourself accountable…and it sounds like you’ve failed miserably.

    I doubt this person wants you to feel sorry for them. I got the impression they were just stating a simple fact. You’re the one who twisted and turned it to shame them into feeling less than human. In reality, you’re the one who walks away looking sub-human.

    I’d like to leave you with one last thought, but I’m not sure you have anywhere to put it.

  • Guest20 says:

    GuestDoubtful, you’re a total jerk. It’s none of your business what GuestGrateful’s personal circumstances are. They are apparently severe enough that he/she is struggling to make ends meet in this economy, just like a lot of us are. If you were twice as smart as you are now, you’d be absolutely stupid. Mind your own business.

  • Guest3 says:

    “Mean people are like slinkys…They aren’t good for much, but you just can’t help but smile when one falls down the stairs.”

    Nice going, Guest20.

  • GuestGrateful says:

    You sure are judgmental of people and circumstances you don’t even know. My $1,000 bonus, which will probably be around $800 after taxes, will go toward my $1,400 property tax bill. There are many people struggling in this economy, so why tear apart a city employee just because they’re struggling too?

    I don’t smoke, drink, or have the latest 4G iphone, and I don’t eat out 2 or 3 times a week. I’m frugal with my money, but kids get sick and need dental work. I’m getting older now, too, and have several medical problems of my own. One of my older sons had to move back home because he got laid off from his job, so I’ve been trying to help him pay his bills so it won’t go against his credit and make it harder for him to get a job.

    You must have had a very unhappy childhood to be such a negative person. I really feel sorry for you.

  • GuestDoubtful says:

    People do not need to hold themselves personally accountable for their lifesyle and choices, and I’m supposed to feel sorry for them without question.

    I’m guessing you’re probably living beyond your means, too? I remember driving by a double-wide out in Craven County with an Esacalade parked out front, and three satellite dishes on the trailer. Man I wish I had gotten a picture of that. But of course, they’re entitled.

    Enjoy your new X-box.

  • Broker19 says:

    You work for the Local Realtor Board?

  • Guestdh says:

    Dear valued government employees: I am glad that we taxpayers get to throw you a party. Have a drink for me. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of the workers in the private sector have seen their income DECREASE during the recession, receive NO Christmas bonuses and also receive NO party. Oh, and the vast majority of us have also seen our health insurance premiums go through the roof. Oh, and also our employers have asked us to work more and more hours as they fire more and more of our co-workers. So, yes, raise your taxpayer-funded glass for those of us in the real world.

  • GuestHappy says:

    The best time to voice your opposition to a city employee bonus was at last night’s council meeting, which you obviously did not attend or you would not have made some of the comments you made in your post.

    It was brought out that City employees, because of increases in premium health care costs and decreases in 401(k) employer contributions, have gone through a 10% decrease in pay.

    There has been a 30% increase in the city population since 2003, and many city employees have left due to retirement or gone to work for other companies that pay better than the city. There has also been a hiring freeze for quite a while, so current city employees have done more with less.

    Even though they have less employees, they are expected to increase their work load to cover for those who left and handle the increase of infrastructure due to the increase in population. They haven’t had anything for 3 years, and have actually seen their pay level drop 10%. They deserve their increase. They worked for it, and they earned it.

    Cheers, city employees! Bottoms up! There are many of us who are happy for you!

  • Guest41787 says:

    I am not a city employee so it does not benefit me to defend the bonuses. However, city employees are working for a company as is everyone els and it is not as if it is unheard of to give bonuses this time of year most. Would you have preferred that city employees not have their pay cut two years ago instead of the bonus because I amn sure the employees would prefer trhat option too.

  • cityemployee8081 says:

    Thank You

  • realworld says:

    your welcome, now get to work for once.

  • Guest2012 says:

    Keep up the Good Work, City Workers! YOU deserve it! ENJOY!

    Kuddos to the City Manager and City Council who OBVIOUSLY realize that City workers are the City’s biggest asset.

    City Staff, please don’t listen to the green-eyed monster Guest 228, he is jealous. HE/SHE is ALWAYS AND FOREVER COMPLAINING ABOUT the CITY, the MAYOR, city employees, etc.
    Someone must’ve fired him, or most likely, NEVER HIRED him in the first place, and he now spends his time & energy fighting other bloggers about BEING A TAX PAYER, like City workers aren’t.

    Also, about the “paying taxes” vs. “buying Christmas toys” comment, consider this:

    If you have to use it to pay your taxes, be grateful. Your kids will value your VALUE system. You are being a Responsible Adult and they will recognize it, and besides, nobody ever promised you a rose garden anyway.

    I never sleep through a whole night because I have been unemployed for over a year now. It is almost 3a.m. I just finished more job searching/applying…along with the multitudes of others who are suffering silently.
    But, I am happy for those who are getting a little BOOST. Maybe my turn is coming??

  • mr concerned says:

    just what the economy needed, another jump start with taxpayers money

  • WFD Firefighter says:

    I’m not sure if your assumption is correct. If you look into this story more closely you’ll see that we have ultimately taken pay cuts when the cost of health insurance has increased over the last two years, our 401K contributions have been reduced by 2.5%, and we have not received merit pay each year. When I joined the City of Wilmington as an employee these were part of the benefits that attracted me to take the job. As I see it, this small bonus is payed for by the reductions in our benefits over the last few years not paid for by the tax payers.

  • Guest20 says:

    You’re so right! This IS a boost to the economy. Most of these employees will put that money right back into the local economy by spending it at Christmas. City employees are taxpayers too.

  • Guest3 says:

    If you wanted to complain, you had your chance at last night’s council meeting.

  • ldj930 says:

    I’m proud that the city of Wilmington has agreed to show they know one of their greatest assets are their employees. It nice to see politics put aside to do the right thing.

  • Guest33259928 says:

    I agree that it’s a wonderful thing to do for their employees. However, they didn’t put politics aside. They know employees will spend the money on Christmas and put it right back into the local economy. It was actually a good, solid political move.

  • Guest356768888 says:

    It’s nice to give a bonus but what about the families and the employees that were let go to create this money? Uncle Scrooge Saffo, why didn’t you find a way to keep them? Obviously you could have since you have a surplus.They worked for years for the city and did their jobs well. Why don’t you tell the truth-that you and the city manager replaced us with people with less experience because you knew that you could get away with paying them less. Yes, they are willing to do it because they somehow believe that they know so much and they are being rewarded but the truth is they are being manipulated.

  • GuestGrateful says:

    I’m very grateful for the bonus, but it won’t go back into the local economy. It will go back to the city to pay my property taxes. My kids still won’t get a Christmas.

  • GuestDoubtful says:

    Because you received a bonus, your kids can now have a Christmas? Or they can’t have a Christmas because you have to pay your property taxes?

    Wow. A lot of unverified, anonymous drama here. The problem with idiotic statements of this order is that we have no way of verifying how you handle your money to begin with. Do you smoke, drink, have the latest 4G iphone? What things do you waste your money on that you couldn’t afford a some type of holiday present for your kid? Is it eating out two or three times a week?

    A lot of people make a lot of money, but can’t manage it. There are those that make next to nothing, but could afford to buy their kids a Christmas present. Before you get on here and whine about what a 1000 dollars would do for you, I suggest you get a handle on your finances. Maybe take a look at priorities…many in our society have confused wants with needs.

    Still, I do agree that the bonus is probably in order for those employees…I know they do work hard for what they earn, and for those that work in the private sector, there are lots of personal standards for public employees that you don’t have to meet. DUI, fired. Urinalysis..random…test positive, fired. This list goes on…

    Regardless of the peanut gallery comments, it did take a little bit of leadership and guts for the council to approve this, knowing what the internet vultures were going to scream about. (That’s a pretty small number anyway.)

  • GuestEmployee says:

    Thank you, City Council, for our bonuses. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Now my kids can have Christmas!

  • Guest238 says:

    So, they cut services, lay off people, and don’t fill vacant positions so they can save money for bonuses and a PARTY? That is our taxpayer money they are spending and I, for one, would at the very least like an invitation to the party. I like the way they waited until after the election to announce this although it probably has been in the works for weeks.
    Thanks to the mayor and our council for another brilliant use of may money.

  • GuestHappyBonus says:

    Sorry, Doofus, but you didn’t DO anything to deserve being invited to this party. This is for hard working city employees who have not only met, but exceeded management expectations over the past 3 years.
    It amounts to about $5.50 for each city employee for their “lavish” party. That won’t buy a chocolate fountain, but it will buy a few hot dogs.

    This bonus was timed to be near Christmas, so that employees could not only enjoy Christmas with their families, but also stimulate the local economy with their bonuses. You should have been at last night’s meeting and you could have learned all about it. But that would take an effort on your part, wouldn’t it?

  • Guest County Employee says:

    I think it’s wonderful. This act will go a long way with producing good employee moral. In Brunswick County School system we haven’t had a raise in 4 years. The new hires make more money than teachers that were hired 4 years ago. They increased beginning salary but no raises which lowered moral. Nice job City of Wilmington.

  • Guest55555 says:

    Thank you for such a nice comment. We’re all in this together. I hope you get an increase soon!

  • Guest0401 says:

    Then try your luck in the private sector. Many of those workers would LOVE to be earning what they were three years ago. And, quite frankly, we are sick of hearing public employees constantly whining. Do you really think you should be that insulated from the hardships the rest of us face? Especially when the rest of us pay your salary?

  • GuestThanks says:

    City infrastructure has grown over the past 3 years due to an increase in population. Many city workers have retired or gone to work for other companies, while the vacant jobs they left behind were never filled. So employees have been working a lot more with much less. If anyone actually went to the council meeting last night, or watched the video posted on the city website, they would have a much clearer knowledge of why this bonus was so necessary.

    Thank you for the hard work that you do!

  • choices says:

    You are working with less because you choose to, otherwise you would have moved on. The truth is that those vacant positions weren’t filled and people were let go because the mayor and the city manager had other motives. The bonus wasn’t necessary-it was a choice. Instead of the manager and mayor thinking about service they manipulated the system. It always come down to who they like and who they know it is never about being of service.

  • Guest12 says:

    I myself just like many others have worked in the private sector, so you cant use that arguement..As far as the private sector……every single person I know except for one has had raises along with cost of living increases and bonuses this year last year and the year before so there are companies out there still thriving!And dont complain about paying our salaries since we are the lowest paid public workers for a city this size in NC.If we actually were paid what the pay scales say we shoud make then we could compete with other cities and not have people that the city spent thousands of dollars in training leave after a year or less to go to another city in NC that pays much more.

  • GuestThanks says:

    And I’ll bet YOU didn’t go to the meeting either. It amazes me how people are so anxious to voice their opinions when they don’t have all the facts.

    I’m working with less because I only have a few years to go until retirement. I’ve invested too many years to just walk away now and start over with a new company. Starting over with a new company would mean starting at the bottom of their salary ladder as a new hire.

    But, you know, I do understand you. I have a way with dumb animals.

  • Guest3 says:

    No where in my post did I say I’m a city worker. I am not. No services will be cut to anyone, and no workforce cuts will be made. You’re just trying to grasp for straws but you come off looking even more ridiculous. Isn’t your mama calling you to dinner yet?

    Good grief! At least fake it and show SOME amount of intelligence. You post some of the most asinine responses I’ve ever seen.

  • Guest238 says:

    I am complaining. I am complaining about stupid people that save money by cutting services to all the people, by cutting the work force and putting people out of jobs and then using MY money for a party for a select few and giving out bonuses to even fewer. All of you city workers do work for me and everyone else in the city whether you like it or not. I guess I should be happy for all of you idiots that think this is a good idea. You probably work for the city.

  • Guest238 says:

    Typical government worker mentality. In case you forgot, you work for me. I help pay your salary and everything else the city owns, and I have been for 21 years since I lived here, so you shouldn’t be calling me or anyone else names.
    Thanks for proving me correct about the party being in the works for months.
    The city must have lowered their expectations of their employees if we hired you.

  • GuestHappyBonus says:

    Now there sits a man with an open mind. You can feel the draft from here.

    I’m NOT a government worker. You just assumed I was because I said that they deserve a bonus. Being the selfish moron that you are, you think it must have benefitted me personally to feel that way. Amazing what ignorant jerks will think if you give them enough rope to hang themselves.

    You’ve only lived here 21 years – I’ve lived here all my 63, so I think I know a little more about this city than you do. At least I show enough interest to attend council meetings. I’ll guarantee you don’t, Double Doofus.

  • Guest3 says:

    If you had watched the video of last night’s meeting, you would know that management has been saving and scrimping for the past year or so to save enough money for this small picnic. We’re always complaining that government agencies don’t know how to cut back and save money, but when they do, we jump down their throats.

    No matter what they did, you would complain. That’s just your negative, complaining personality.

    Marshall McLuham once said, “A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.” In your case, he was SO right.

  • Guest112212121 says:


  • Guest 3456789 says:

    Guess what? I help pay my own salary too.

  • robo says:

    This group is what the voters approved during the last election. So,no one can expect any other results from their complaints.

  • Guest12qw32 says:

    What you are forgetting is that they all still work 40 hours per week. Let me know if you can find a zoning official in the office after 430pm or on the weekend. They still pump out the same volume of work. No more no less !!!

  • Guester says:

    The city hasn’t laid off any employees. They just didn’t hire any new employees when others left.

  • wade Griffis says:

    I do, however, see them working downtown every morning. They are cleaning up after the drunken slobs who have trashed the city.

    Give them the money! They deserve it!

    It gets a little old, reading the posts of people who are snug in their homes while this work is going on. Sleep well, old farts. You do not have to pick it up.

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