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Getting high(er)

Pay raises were approved for city employees, including the city manager, police and municipal employees.

Tim Farley January 8th, 2014

City employees, including Manager Jim Couch and two other high-ranking officials, will make more money during 2014 thanks to action taken by the Oklahoma City Council on Dec. 31.

A 2 percent raise was approved for Couch and most other city workers during the Dec. 31 council meeting. All new salaries took effect Jan. 1.

Couch, Municipal Counselor Ken Jordan and City Auditor Jim Williamson were considered for raises separate from other city employees because they are hired directly by the council.

As the city’s highest paid employee, Couch’s salary jumps from $229,407 to $234,002, which creates a new hourly rate of $112.07. In addition, Couch will receive an annual allowance of $7,000, payable monthly, in lieu of automobile expenses incurred while working. Couch was hired as city manager in 2000.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s salary jumped from $173,779 to $177,250 effective Jan. 1, while Williamson’s pay increased from $141,618 to $144,447. Jordan has been OKC’s municipal counselor since January 2006 and Williamson has served as auditor since September 2008.

Jordan will receive an annual car allowance of $7,000 while Williamson’s car allowance was set at $3,000.

Other raises City and union negotiators finalized the last two contracts as police and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) groups accepted 2 percent pay hikes.

The contracts were approved by the union memberships and the city council.

AFSCME represents 1,369 employees across a variety of city departments. The FOP represents 1,042 police department employees.

As the city’s highest paid employee, Couch’s salary jumps from $229,407 to $234,002, which creates a new hourly rate of $112.07.

Earlier in 2013, the city and the firefighters union agreed to an average pay hike of 2.84 percent depending on rank. Increases ranged from 3.13 percent for fire recruits to 2.23 for a district chief. The wage increases were made after a peer cities market survey was conducted.

Overall, the pay hikes will cost the city an additional $8 million during the current fiscal year with $5.4 million coming from the general fund, according to figures provided by OKC Budget Director Doug Dowler. All union contracts are retroactive to July 1, 2013.

The police agreement increased the city budget by $1.9 million while the firefighters will get almost $3 million in pay hikes, higher insurance payments and EMT class time pay. City management raises will cost taxpayers almost $1.7 million while pay increases for AFSCME members will cost more than $1.4 million, city figures show.

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