- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
City manager John Godwin has told members of the Paris City Council that he will be asking during the upcoming city budget meetings for “a pot of money” for merit-based raises for city employees.
“I’ll tell you ahead, so you’ll be prepared, it won’t be for all 325 employees,” Godwin said.
“It will be for the best of the employees, but it won’t be across the board,” Godwin said during a 90-minute workshop session Tuesday to make sure everybody was on the same page.
He wants to scrap Paris’ “step-and-grade” pay system in which employees get an automatic raise each year for several years.
“I hate that,” Godwin said, “because what it means is you’re rewarded for living. Not because you were good or bad but just because you got to the next budget year. I’d like to tear that apart.”
Mayor AJ Hashmi and councilman John Wright both told Godwin during a council workshop on Tuesday that they want employee personnel audits to make sure employees are pulling their weight and that department heads are held accountable.
“We want to hold people accountable, and if they don’t do well – if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do,” they won’t get a raise, Godwin said.
He didn’t indicate how much money it would take to pay for the raises.
But earlier in the meeting, both District 3 councilman John Wright and Mayor AJ Hashmi said they’d like to see the tax rate cut. Hashmi said he’d like the tax rate cut by 1 per cent each year for the next 5 years – without cutting essential services.
Both councilmen said they want to see significant increases in productivity on the city workforce, and for department heads to be held accountable.
And Wright noted there is $700,000 budgeted for overtime in the present city budget, adding “I would like for that to very drastically be reduced.”
One of the things Godwin beat out two other finalists for city manager in Paris was his experience with budgets.
“As far as the budget’s concerned, my background is budget,” he said. “I was the budget director of a budget of almost $400 million.”
Hashmi said he’d like at least $250,000 in the budget for each of four problem areas – repair of the infrastructure, clean-up of the city, tear-down of dilapidated housing, and construction of new streets – a total of at least $1 million.
There was no mention of dipping into the city’s reserves to pay for pay raises or for the $1 million that the mayor wants earmarked for infrastructure, streets, clean-up and dilapidated structures in the upcoming budget.
Godwin said significant savings could be achieved by using city staff instead of hiring outside consultants. He said he would like for the council not to hire an engineering company for a $100,000 study of a possible drainage utility district.
“I think that’s something we can and should do in house,” Godwin told the council.
Tuesday’s workshop came as Godwin completed his third week on the job in Paris after pulling up stakes in Fairview, in Collin County, where he had been city manager for the past 11 years.
Godwin also had this to say about the upcoming budget talks:
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