|Allentown City Council|
- Council is doing a $60,000 compensation benefit analysis to establish a merit based personnel code in which wage hikes go to those who deserve them.
- Non-union employees will get a 1.5% payhike. Higher increases that Fed Ed wanted to give to his cronies have been rolled back. This will save $115,000.
- The police chief, assistant chief and captains will get a 3.5% payhike, while the fire chief will get a 2% raise. This corresponds to what the unions in those departments are getting.
- The Managing Director, Director of Community and Economic Development and Operations Manager positions will be funded at $1. Wisely, Council declined to eliminate the positions. This will reduce spending by $330,000.
- The overtime budget has been cut 10%,which will reduce spending by $350,000
- Payments to consultants and other professional services have been reduced 10%,saving $586,000..
- Council has set aside a $50,000 contingency fund for any disputes with the Mayor that might require legal action.
- The EIT increase will be reduced 10%.
- $2,500 will fund a program that helps teach English to recent immigrants.
- $5,000 will be spent on cultural heritage events.
- $5,000 will be spent for arts and cultural events.
There was no discussion from Council itself. The amendments were adopted by a 6 to 1 vote. Candida Affa, a loyal Fed Ed ally, was the sole dissenter and even she hesitated before casting her No vote.
This was a remarkable display of independence and leadership from a Council that I once referred to as bobbleheads. Much of this is due to Council President Ray O'Connell, who has managed to put together several veto-proof majorities and has worked amazingly well with his fellow Council members. But much of the credit also goes to the numerous watchdogs like Dennis Pearson, Julian Kern, Lou Hershman, Robert Trotner and Glenn Hunsicker, who are regulars at City Council meetings.
The FBI gets a nod, too.
By way of full disclosure, this report is based on watching a video of the meeting. I was unable to make it to Allentown in time.