- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

MONROE, La. (AP) - After pleas from Monroe city workers for the administration to reward them for their hard work, the city council has approved two items aimed at starting a conversation on an increase in the minimum wage for city employees.

The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/1wZIYzT ) the two items are a resolution stating the city council supports an increase in the minimum wage to $10 an hour and the approval of a study that will compare pay scales and job descriptions of Monroe to similarly situated cities.

“When that storm came through here, the employees worked 14 straight days in the Garden District,” city worker Robert Johnson said. “They gave us more love than some of the administrators. I hope that the executive group and the legislative and any other party that don’t feel like we should be getting this increase, search your heart and look to the sky, because there is a god that’s watching us.”

The resolution, which was introduced by City Council Chairman Ray Armstrong, was approved unanimously, but not without heated debate.

“The fact that we don’t have employees that make a living wage has been a problem for many years,” Armstrong said. “The mayor’s budget is due to the council on Feb. 1. What I would like to do in support of this minimum wage increase is to make sure the administration looks at where this money comes from. I believe there is money there to do this.”

Mayor Jamie Mayo said he supports an increase of the minimum wage, but it can’t be implemented all at once.

“When it causes us to have an additional expense of $1.5 million dollars and we have to do what I had to do in my third year here, which was lay off 100 workers, you all are not going to be very happy,” he said. “We have not threatened to lay off anybody. I’m not going to do that.

“We’re doing this study to make sure that we have all of our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed.”

The study, which is focusing on Alexandria and others, was approved with a 4-0-1 vote will cost $4,680 and is expected to take four to six weeks to complete.


Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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