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St. John Council must approve pay raises

By Richard Meek
Contributing Writer

LAPLACE – Pay raises for non-classified employees in St. John the Baptist Parish Council will now have to be presented to the parish council for approval, under an ordinance adopted at the most recent council meeting.
The ordinance approved by council members requires Parish President Natalie Robottom to submit a separate list of raises for non-classified employees when she submits the annual budget. Previously, all salaries were presented as a combined total and not broken down individually or as classified or non-classified.
Classified employees are civil service workers.
“We could provide you with a separate list,” Robottom told council members. “The budget process is very clean. If you want that list, you can have it.  There are no secrets.”
To which Councilman Larry Snyder immediately quipped, “That’s what I want.”
Council Chair Jaclyn Hotard said the council wants the salaries of non-classified employees, who include special assistants hired by Robottom, so members can either approve or reject pay raises that the president may have recommended.
Robottom countered that the council could simply amend the proposed budget, but Hotard argued that amending the budget would not be necessary if the non-classified employee list was submitted separately.
Although pay raises for civil service workers are capped at percentages based on a number of factors, including years of service and classification, those same restrictions do not apply to non-classified employees and department heads.
There appeared to be some confusion about whether those salaries would have to be voted on separately, to which Robottom said, “I present a proposed budget. If you want to vote on it separately, have at it.
“I will make a budget proposal, and you will vote on it.”
In other news, the council approved the 2013 millage, which remained the same. Chief Finance Officer Vince Lucia said he believes the millage could possible remain the same for the next several years.
“We feel confident we can keep it where it’s at this time,” he said.