For quite a long time, Newport City Hall has had trouble hiring and then retaining a wide variety of city workers, mostly at the lower echelons of the pay scale. City Manager Spencer Nebel told the council Monday evening that a recent comparative salary survey among similar sized cities as Newport revealed that Newport’s pay scales were quite a bit below the average. Nebel said it explained why it’s been so hard to hang on to a number of city employees who hire on but then soon quit to take a higher paying job elsewhere. It’s been a tough situation, according to Nebel, who said it affects just about every city department, including the Aquatic Center. When they can’t keep lifeguards they can’t run certain parts of the center. And the public isn’t pleased when that happens. Nebel added that the city goes to considerable time and expense to interview applicants, do backgrounds checks and check their prior work experience only to have them leave to take another job paying one to two dollars an hour more somewhere else.
So, Monday night, the city council approved a new salary schedule. The pay hikes will be phased in over the next few years.
Paid overtime was also affected by the new pay package. Supervisors and other higher echelon positions with the city will not be eligible for overtime. Those not in management positions will still qualify for overtime.