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After four years without pay raises, Clearwater employees will get one

CLEARWATER — City employees, who haven't had a raise in four years, earned a 2.5 percent pay bump this month at a citywide cost of more than $1.1 million.

More than 1,200 supervisors and employees will earn the raise, payable in the first year from city reserves. In following years, half the money for the raises will come from the city's general operating fund.

The raises were included as sweeteners during recent bargaining meetings with police, fire and general employee unions, most of which have agreed to cutbacks in pensions.

"Granting a small wage increase ... really helped us out," City Manager Bill Horne said. "Our staff morale starting off 2012 was certainly a little higher than the last four years."

The raises amount to up to $1,400 a year for general employees and $3,000 a year for top officials. City administrators, who are not unionized, will only receive the increase for one year.

Most employees received the raises starting Jan. 1, except for police officers and firefighters, whose "step" raises repeat based on their hire date.

Under the police department's new contract, which will begin in October, officers will earn 5 percent "step" raises for each of their first five years and 2.5 percent raises for seven years afterward.

Fire union leaders tentatively agreed to a similar contract Wednesday.

Fire union members will vote next month on whether to ratify the proposal, which would then go to the City Council for a final vote.

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or dharwell@tampabay.com. Submit letters to the editor at tampabay.com/letters.

After four years without pay raises, Clearwater employees will get one 01/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:00pm]

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