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Big raises for city workers

July 03, 2013 - Several city employees will receive raises this year including clerk, treasurer, and grounds and clerical staff. Meanwhile, Clarkston faces a $38,500 budget deficit. (See "Budget," page 4). City worker Jason Miller will get $6,240 more this year, after City Council passed a resolution increasing his hourly pay $3 an hour during the June 24 council meeting.

Councilman Richard Bisio wanted to know why.

"I'd like to understand a little bit better what additional responsibilities justify the $6,240 raise," Bisio said.

City Manager Carol Eberhardt, who recently took over DPW administrative duties, said the city still needs someone in the field able to make decisions and follow guidelines.

Eberhardt said Miller also solves problems in the field, and handles any problems the city has with contractors.

"Jason is the one who calls and gets them back out here and goes and threatens them and you know muscles them into doing it properly," she said.

Eberhardt said her managerial DPW duties include monitoring the department, taking reports, completing paperwork, checking schedules, making suggestions, fielding residents complaints and performing follow-ups to ensure resident complaints are handled.

Miller will also be eligible for overtime, a benefit the former DPW head did not receive. Overtime is earned during events like Concerts in the Park and Taste of Clarkston when workers take care of trash, electrical and safety issues.

The raise is retroactive to June 10, when the council eliminated the DPW supervisor position, a move made to save the city just over $22,000. After the position was cut, Eberhardt became DPW manager and took over all managerial duties.

The city manager said Miller has been spending time at City Hall working with staff to educate him on the budget, "he sits with me and we talk about budget expenditures how to manage the budget," she said.

He has also been scheduling the workday, handling contractor bids, and communicating with contractors. "I will be doing the paperwork and most of the administrative work, but he will do the communication with Michigan Department of Transportation and the Oakland County Road commission," said Eberhardt.

Eberhardt said Miller will walk city streets to determine what sidewalks need repair, and handle other work like tree trimming. "He takes care of the rental of the equipment, said Eberhardt. "If we need to rent equipment he takes care of that."

Miller will also oversee the sale and purchase of equipment and will handle bidding and purchasing.

Eberhardt said she determined Miller's raise based on previous research done by former city manager Dennis Ritter after he researched salary increases for the staff last year. "Honestly this still does not put him up to par from what I see the standard DPW worker in a non-supervisory position makes," said Eberhardt. She added most DPW workers in Miller's position make is between $18-$22 an hour.

Staff writer
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