Delaware New Castle County

County Executive Matt Meyer Vetos NCCo Council Staff Pay Raises

NCCo Council voted this past Tuesday to reclassify multiple Council Staff positions, which would effectively provide pay increases well better than that currently contemplated for most of the rest of the County’s employees. Today, County Executive Meyer vetoed this bill. Meyer’s veto letter is below:

CE-letter-vetoing-20_011_28_Feb-2020

NCCo Council decided to unilaterally edit the job descriptions of these staff, decide what Pay Grades these edits would be entitled to and then pass their edits and reclassifications into law. Big Problem — this is not how job descriptions and pay grades get changed. These edits should be made with HR and subject to HR’s evaluation for grade changes. Mainly because HR has a process for doing this re-evaluation (so that it is fair to everyone in this pay grade, or with similar jobs) and they have access to the market research that might guide what these jobs are worth.

These jobs most likely are worth well more than they are paid — as are most of the jobs of the folks doing the daily heavy lifting in Government jobs. And I have no objection to anyone playing hardball to get a raise. This effort by County Council is less about fair pay than it is about giving the County Exec the finger. While he is engaged with tough negotiations with County Police, other unions and staff over increases that might be in the 1-2% range — this unilateral pay grade changes just for Council staff can mean a 10% or more raise for most of the targeted staff. This hardly seems fair given that the rest of the County won’t get these same raises. And people in NCCo never want to pay more in taxes, so it seems odd to Council to go against the wishes of their constituents and increase their financial burden here by providing more generous raises to just Council staff.

Meyer made is case to Council to reconsider in the following letter:

CE_Council-President_HartleyNagle_re_20-011

The revised job descriptions are below as attached to the legislation. Most of these have minor changes — the most serious one I saw was eliminating the need to use dictation equipment for the Admin Assistant. None of this looks like it requires an increase in pay grade level(s). But say it does — it seems likely that everyone with a grade increase gets put in the same quartile that they are in now, which could be a pretty big bump in pay. A pretty big bump no other County employee is getting, even the people currently in contract negotiations with the County.

Ord-20-011-002

If NCCo Council had any cohones to go with effort to just pay their own staff, they would have proposed grade increases to most County employees and proposed the new taxes to pay for that. It’s a really bad look for Council to just give their own staff this preferential treatment at a time with the County Exec is literally at the table with multiple County employee stakeholders and telling them that giant raises (even if deserved) are impossible. We applaud Meyer for throwing out the Tom Gordon playbook of spend now and leave other people to make the books work. But County Councilpeople should be asked why their own staff deserve such large percentage raises (and the potential raises from a new pay grade), and they are completely disinterested in making sure that the rest of the County employees do not.

11 comments on “County Executive Matt Meyer Vetos NCCo Council Staff Pay Raises

  1. Not a Meyer fan but appreciate his stand here. When he finally took office, all of his campaign bravado hit the wall of reality (e.g he retained every single employee in land use that he’d attacked as corrupt). Like when Dave Grimaldi went in and thought he could reform the unsustainable benefit and pension packages for labor only to hit that wall and become ‘the enemy’.

    People should start to pay attention to the insane result of my friend Dave Carter’s implementation of council’s resolution to start video livestream and archiving of all of their meetings. None of the subsequent delaying resolutions had a fiscal note for this project and Dave tells me in wanting to “do it right” he’s got contracts signed that are contingent on the passage of what I guess will be yet another resolution that doesn’t have to be posted until next week for the March 10th council meeting.

    He told me the estimates for this service was doubled since we last spoke and it is astronomical now. I said at that price ($100k in set up and then associated costs including special staff videographer(s?) similar to Wilmington but now in two places with extra costs to run cables up eight floors.

    My suggestion – council can meet in committee in the chamber on the first floor and not worry about out-fitting their 8th floor room. AND to scrap this horribly expensive plan altogether and go with audio-only livestreamed and archived. The idea of having camera operators and all the bells and whistles and the expense of it all was never vetted by the whole council. Dee Durham told me she had no knowledge of this cost as they had ‘left it up to Carter’ because he was tech savy.

    Meyer can hardly veto a massive outlay from council for their own record keeping, Or can he?

    Anyway, Dave says, Nancy, you can come to the meeting and kill this initiative if you want. And I intend to try.

    We don’t need it and so far these costs are not publicly available to even have a real discussion about it.

  2. cassandram

    “Meyer can hardly veto a massive outlay from council for their own record keeping, Or can he?”

    The reason he can veto it is that they passed it as a regular ordnance. This wasn’t an administrative internal change to their budget. And it looks like an end run around the effort to control personnel costs. I agree that plenty of County employees need bigger raises. Don’t just reclassify select staff, get raises this big for everyone in the County and find legit money to pay for it.

    Do you know if county council is looking to piggyback off of the broadcast system already in the Council Chambers or set up their own? This does seem expensive if they are planning to use the current equipment. And this equipment is set up in the council workshop room next door too.

    • My comment was not in reference to the veto he made about the council salary jumps. I have no problem with that and agree with it and wouldn’t raise a question as to his authority there.

      My comment was in reference to a different topic I had brought up about the extraordinary costs associated with council plans for video livestream and archiving. Since it is council wanting records keeping a certain way, I was wondering if the executive branch would feel that it would be in bad form to set against it.

      A friend told me today that NCC has its own studio and equipment ($300 dollars worth that Gordon funded) and a teevee station and staff that are assigned to that work but don’t actually do much for their pay check. I said hey, I wonder if council will consider all of their options like contracting to use the existing NCC video MOBILE equipment and staff. Or is this twist that it is the executive side and not the legislative side be raised as an issue.

      • cassandram

        OK. So 19-093 is here. And startup costs seem to be o $102,919.95. It would be useful to know if they are leveraging the equipment and facilities already in the building or of they are building a parallel system.

        • Councilman Carter

          Yes, all of the options were investigated in detail and documented on the record for the live streaming options. Maximum leverage of existing equipment and staff was the option chosen. The public record summary is in the July 23, 2019 NCC Council Finance Committee Record. I suggest that you take a few moments to download that audio record and listen to the discussion. The Discussion on the Live Streaming and cost begins at about timestamp 24:52.

  3. Councilman Carter

    Nancy,

    There is much more to Meyer’s dishonest representation of the action on the council staff resources. I think we will get to the truth at Tuesday’s open public Council Meeting on the public record.

    As for the video streaming, you should look up Ordinance 19-093 introduced on Sept. 10, 2019 and Approved by a 12-0-1 vote on Sept. 24, 2019. It outlines the costs and the open committee meeting recordings have the discussion of the option and concerns with live streaming and cost. Surprised you did not do a little homework since I personally told you we did a budget amendment as a prerequisite to working on and contracts. I do consider putting things in an ordinance and before Council at a publicly noticed Regular Council Meeting an open public process.

    Having just heard from Councilman Durham, I am also disappointed in your dishonest representation of her statement, which was “I am not familiar with the details and you should check with Dave”.

    I would ask that you at least make a tiny effort to know the truth and facts before posting your fake news.

    Councilman Carter

    • Well, Dave, since you asked for it in calling me a liar, Dee Durham’s statements are still on my facebook messenger and I am copy and pasting them here for your benefit. My paraphrasing was fairly accurate. And I have the CD of your comments at the Civic League for NCC so I have that to back up the characterization of my memory of the conversation in February.

      You should be careful when you throw around the word dishonest.

      Nancy

      ——————————————–

      NW: Also expressed my disappointment [to Carter] that Council is going to be – in my phrasing – wasting unnecessary tens of thousands of tax dollars in the way you have contracted for video livestreaming. It is completely uncool to expend huge dollars for staffing etc. I am pissed that the ordinance for that said there was no fiscal note. That is a lie. And this can be done with an installed camera that feeds and then is archived like Newark has. You guys just need a simple fix in your committee room and in the chamber. What a mess.

      DD: I honestly dont know the details of what is being proposed. What did Dave say?

      NW: He said there is an annual outlay of 60 grand. That the price would go down over time. I am not interested in this being a big show. All we need is real time video and archive not a production. And that you don’t know about it and he has signed contracts is very disturbing

      DD: I do know about it, Nancy. Please dont put words in my mouth. I just havent heard anything in quite a while, and I was not sure where things stood. I have been focused onybown priorities and trusting Dave to do what needs to be done regarding the tech stuff.

  4. Just this week, we celebrated the efforts of emergency responders in saving civilian lives. These are the people that deserve a raise in our county. Our paramedics, police fighters and fire fighters. Not politically connected Council staff.

  5. Concerned taxpayer

    Corruption 101!! Throwing away tax dollars without oversight. How do we stop this from happening? Thank you County Executive for standing up for taxpayers

  6. Countycouncil9

    Remember this all falls within this years and next years budget. No new money is needed!

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