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Carey re-proposes pay raises: Borough salary schedule shows 3 planned KESA increases

Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey is proposing to increase pay for three positions this upcoming budget year. The Borough Assembly previously voted against salary increases for two of the positions in question.

In the appendix A salary schedule, Carey proposed upping the Kachemak Emergency Service Area fire chief's and assistant chief's pay.

The KESA chief earned $62,000 this fiscal year, and Carey has suggested a $74,345 salary for FY2011. Carey proposed to ramp up the assistant chief's pay from $56,000 to $64,906. In November, Carey brought similar salary increases to the assembly, but the body voted them down.

The mayor has been criticized for offering pay scale increases, especially after paying his top two aides $20,000 more than their predecessors in the previous administration. The mayor later rescinded those pay increases, and that decision is reflected in the appendix A schedule.

Carey said the KESA salary increases are meant to properly compensate the positions, especially given the salaries of other area emergency officials.

"I'm trying to bring them more in line," Carey said. "They provide relatively much of the same services and should be correctly compensated for the work they do."

Central Emergency Services's chief is scheduled to make $93,054 this fiscal year, which is the same salary as FY 2010. CES's assistant chief is scheduled to maintain an $87,624 income. Nikiski's emergency team earns comparable salaries.

Borough assembly member Mako Haggerty, who represents KESA's district, said he thinks the proposed raises are appropriate. Haggerty voted against the raises in November, he said, because of the negative opinion that still resonated from the pay scale increases given to the mayor's special assistant and chief of staff, among other positions.

"It was bad timing, but I happen to think that they deserve a raise," Haggerty said of the KESA positions. "They are in a little under everybody else."

The salary schedule also proposes raising the major capital projects director's pay from $84,681 to $92,000. Carey said the position has been filled with a new employee, Dan Park, who has tremendous qualifications.

"He has a much stronger background with 25 years working in that area," Carey said. Park also has engineering stamps, which allow him to professionally verify and assess important elements of planned projects, according to the mayor.

Other than the three positions slated to receive salary boosts, the vast majority of borough appendix A positions are scheduled to remain level.

Appendix A positions include assessment, finance, maintenance, service area, legal planning and administrative jobs within the borough.

The mayor's release of the appendix A salaries falls in line with Homer assembly member Bill Smith's request for increased transparency. In January, Smith called for line-by-line salary exposure during this year's budget proceedings. Smith said he was happy to see the mayor comply.

"The advantage is that we will be able to understand the totality of what the mayor is proposing," Smith said. "It's also so the public will have the information."

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com



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