*Hear the audio* Councilman addresses the challenges of pay increases

Brendan Heidner Ranger-review Staff Writer
Sunday, July 31, 2022
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After several requests to increase wages for various employees of the City of Glendive, one member of the Glendive City Council provided public comment to explain the process they follow in their considerations.

Glendive City Judge Kerry Burman asked the Personnel Committee of the Glendive City Council on Monday if they would consider raising the City Court clerk’s wages to compare closer to neighboring communities.

According to Burman’s research, Miles City’s court clerk’s wage is $20.24 per hour whereas Burman’s clerk currently makes under $17 per hour.

“I’m looking at some way that we can make a great comparison for me in order to keep a good clerk,” Burman said, noting she is currently recruiting an applicant who will take a large pay cut once she starts as the Glendive city court clerk.

“I do actually have one potential applicant (and) she will be leaving a $25-an-hour job to come take a $16-some an hour job,” Burman noted.

Although not on the Personnel Committee, Councilman Rhett Coon gave a public comment in response to Burman’s request and several others that have come before her’s recently.

“Just so people understand, it’s not that we don’t agree with giving people raises and stuff, it’s just scratching our heads and trying to figure out how the whole thing works because we have to treat the city as a whole and it’s very tough,” Coon said.

Although city employees typically receive an incremental increase in wage every year of about 2%, Coon noted that amount adds up quicker than many might think.

“It’s six figures every year wages go up just with a 2% increase in wages and we don’t get more revenue or money into the city every year when those increases happen,” Coon said. “So, wages continue to go up, we don’t get any more money that comes in and so we have to figure out basically cuts in other places to be able to try and get that money.”

Coon added that they value each of the city’s employee’s and want to see each one get the wages that they deserve, however it is just a matter of whether they can budget for them or not.

“Dispatch, police officers, public works people, clerks, everybody is very valued and it would be nice to be able to pay everyone (more), it’s just how do we get there and how do we look at the budget,” Coon said. “I just wanted to let people know that we’re not against trying to get everybody a competitive wage and salary, it’s just a difficult challenge.”

Listen to Coon’s full comment at www.rangerreview.com/pay.

Reach Brendan Heidner at news@rangerreview.com.