Riverdale moves to fix disparities in pay

By Justin Boron

Riverdale will implement new pay scales for city employees at the start of next year that will end up saving the city about $30,000.

In a move intended to heal the city's payroll and salary constraints, the City Council adopted the new employee pay scales at a recent meeting. But it stopped short of making changes to the positions appointed by the City Council, said City Manager Iris Jessie.

Jessie said the adjustments would save the city about $30,000 in salary. But she said they also may increase some of the costs of benefits so the total savings is still unclear.

Nine positions will have their pay scales brought down, and 11 will actually get a boost in salary scale, she said.

One appointed position left untouched was the city clerk whose pay ranges from about $50,000 to $102,000. After 31 years with the city, Sandra Meyers recently retired as city clerk effective Dec. 31. The council can appoint an interim one or new one entirely during its annual appointment selections in January.

The salary adjustments, which resulted from an Atlanta Regional Commission study, will reel in some salaries in the city that far outstripped the normal pay range for other city governments in the market.

In part, the weight of past pay raises on the city's budget forced the council to cut several positions from the city staff and rendered it unable to give any cost-of-living raises or longevity bonuses. In exchange, the council was able to balance its budget and avoid a tax hike for the citizens. Officials said at the time that annual pay raises had gotten out of hand in the city.

Part of the problem stemmed from Riverdale's pay grade system, which forces city officials to award raises in 2.5 percent increments, ARC officials have said. In other words, an employee couldn't get just a 2 percent raise or a 4 percent raise, but had to receive a 2.5 or 5 percent raise.

The new system will allow for more flexibility in how raises are distributed.