Salem Parks Commission agrees to one-time payment for officials

SALEM – The Salem Parks Commission agreed to approve a one-time lump sum payment to the parks director and parks foreman in lieu of a raise, as long as Salem City Council goes along with the action.

Salem Mayor John Berlin made the original request during a Finance Committee meeting of city council earlier this month, asking that non-bargaining full-time employees under the general fund, the parks department and the utilities department receive a one-time payment of 2.25 percent of their total wages paid in 2012.

He said he thought the employees deserved something, noting they had not received wage increases in 2011 and 2012 while union workers did receive increases under their contracts. He said they couldn’t afford to give the non-union workers raises, but they could recognize their efforts with one-time payments.

Parks Commission Chairman John Panezott agreed with the idea, saying “we have to take care of our important people.”

He said the lump sum payments would cost them a total of $2,091 between Steve Faber and Jim Grimm, which he added they can afford to do based on their carryover. He said the only way this will work, though, is if all three bodies agree. He said he talked to Geoff Goll of the Utilities Commission and it appears they’re on board.

Commission member Terry Hoopes said he agreed everyone should be compensated fairly, adding “it’s long overdue.”

The Finance Committee had tabled action on the request by Berlin. He had estimated the cost of payments for workers under the general fund, such as the fire chief, non-bargaining police lieutenant, service director, deputy auditor, administrative assistant and others would total $10,257. He estimated the cost for the Utilities Department at $8,734.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to meet again at 6:30 p.m. May 9 in council chambers.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at