PORT ALLEN - Many West Baton Rouge Parish employees will see a 5 percent cost of living increase in the next fiscal year, after the Parish Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the measure.

Parish Finance Director Philip Bourgoyne said employees affected include classified full-time and part-time employees, including all appointed directors.

Bourgoyne added that the increase would be disbursed in a step program based on years of service with the parish.

“This gives a separation between those employees with more years and newer hires,” he said.

Bourgoyne said the parish administration requested the increase be given after recent sales tax collections came in above budgeted totals.

The increase also comes after parish government asked its employees earlier this year to cover an additional 2 percent of their health insurance premiums because of economic concerns, Bourgoyne said.

The funds to cover the increase already were included in the parish’s 2011-12 operating budget, as they are each year, Bourgoyne told the council.

Other matters coming before the council Thursday night included:

ZONING VOTE PROTEST: Two Erwinville residents called for an investigation of Council Chairman Gary Spillman, following actions by Spillman during the council’s June 9 meeting that the pair alleged were improper.

Skipper Grady and former Councilman Larry Johnson each claimed Spillman treated them unfairly in a vote regarding a zoning variance on Johnson’s real estate property, which is adjacent to Grady’s property.

Grady claimed Spillman, who represents the Erwinville area, “hijacked” the meeting, after an 8-1 vote to allow Johnson a zoning variance for his residential property. Spillman cast the lone dissention.

In a written statement, Johnson asserted that Spillman publicly questioned Johnson’s character and threatened to vote against any matter the two would bring before the council.

“This indicates that Mr. Spillman is predisposed with regard to his vote,” Johnson said.

Johnson claimed Spillman’s actions were “unbecoming of a public official,” and both asked that Spillman resign or that the council consider removing him as chairman.

The council took no action on the matter, and Spillman did not comment.