The St. Charles Parish Council overrode a veto by Parish President V.J. St. Pierre that would have removed a cap on the pay raises he can give his top appointees.
When the council adopted a $145 million budget earlier this month, they decided to apply a 2 percent cap on pay raises for St. Pierre’s executive staffers.
In his veto message to the council, St. Pierre said the council’s budget amendment limits all unclassified employees to a 2 percent cost of living raise for 2011 and eliminates any possible merit raises for those employees. On the other hand, St. Pierre said that employees under the parish civil service system will receive a 2.2 percent cost of living increase in 2011 and are eligible for up to 3 percent in merit raises.
“I do not feel it is appropriate to differentiate amongst classified and unclassified employees in regards to cost of living and merit raises,” St. Pierre added. “St. Charles Parish is very fortunate to have dedicated and hard working employees. They all deserve to be treated fairly.”
But Councilman Dennis Nuss said that the state of the economy doesn’t justify higher raises for St. Pierre’s appointed employees.
“The folks in this parish need to understand that everyone is suffering right now,” he said.
Nuss said that some of St. Pierre’s executive staffers have received raises by as much as 7 percent in the last year, which the councilman said is “way too much.”
Nuss added that some residents in the community haven’t received a raise in one or two years.
“We are in some very difficult times,” he said.
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