The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council approved a possible pay raise for the council’s legislative aides on Wednesday, but it’s not clear if they’ll end up getting it.
Mayor-President Kip Holden’s staff said they disagree with the idea of singling out the legislative aides to receive a pay increase of up to 5 percent because they are working on revamping the pay plan for all employees.
The council aides would only receive the pay increase if there is enough money available in each council member’s budget to provide them. Council members get a about $76,000 a year each to run their offices, including payroll, travel and office supplies, according to the 2015 budget.
Holden’s chief administrative officer William Daniel argued it was not appropriate to approve pay raises for the aides without long-awaited pay increases for first responders and Department of Public Works employees.
“The mayor is not going to go forward at this point with raises until we can get everybody one,” Daniel said.
The council members disagreed, saying they have the authority to give pay raises to their aides and don’t have to include all city workers. Councilman Joel Boé said he has cut back his budget to save money for his aide’s salary by not using a city cellphone and bringing in office supplies from home.
“This does not mandate that anybody up here has to give a raise,” Boé said. “If you have been frugal with your budget and saved some money in certain areas, this is an option for you.”
It is unclear if and how the pay raises will become a reality.
Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson said the council members have the authority to approve the raise, but noted that she cannot force the city-parish’s finance or human resource departments to cut larger checks.
The Mayor’s Office has been in the thick of revamping the city’s pay plan for months as city workers have failed for several years asking for across-the-board pay raises in the city budget. When the budget was too tight this December, Holden and his staff promised a budget supplement in early 2015 that would rework the pay plan and give everyone a raise in the process.
Mayor’s Office staffers have been locked in negotiations with union representatives for first responders and Public Works employees, who do not want to give up benefits like sick leave that accumulates over time.