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.

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“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.