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Tucson council OKs up to $30M in raises for city employees

Posted at 10:09 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 21:45:49-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Tucson City Council has approved up to $30 million in raises for city employees.

According to a news release, the council voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with the largest compensation package for employees in Tucson's history.

The city will implement over the next two years a series of wage increases to bring employees' salaries up to par with other similar government jobs around Arizona.

Up to $30 million will go toward raising wages for city employees that make below market-range compensation levels and a 2% pay increase for employees not impacted by market adjustments.

Multiple city officials released statements on the announcement.

Mayor Romero

“This historic compensation package reaffirms that our city’s most valuable resource is the employees who serve day in and day out to provide the core services that Tucsonans depend on. This package, combined with the raising of the minimum wage for city employees to $15/hr, will improve recruitment and retention throughout the organization, ensuring that we are attracting and retaining a talented workforce while improving services and saving taxpayers’ the cost of retraining employees.”

City Manager Michael Ortega:

“I am deeply grateful for the Mayor and Council’s leadership to bring market-rate pay increases to City employees. This action shows an appreciation for the dedicated staff that continued to serve our community through the Great Recession and this pandemic. It will also assist in recruiting and retaining top-notch talent.”

Jon Schlecht, President of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 449:

“AFSCME members are very thankful to have Mayor Romero fighting for our members, and helping them to enter into a much more equitable wage scale with like-jobs across the state! Thank you Mayor Romero, the City Council, and City Manager Ortega for pushing for our largest budgeted increase ever!”

“Our thanks goes to Mayor & Council and City Manager Ortega for showing the employees they are valued by bringing their wages up to market-range. This type of wage adjustment is long overdue. In the long run employee retention saves the City money and we believe this action will certainly help with recruitment and retention. We particularity want to thank Mayor Romero for her leadership in this effort as well as raising the minimum wage for city employees to $15/hr.”

Josh Campbell, President of the Tucson Fire Fighters Association (TFFA):

"The Tucson Fire Fighters Association represents nearly 600 commissioned firefighters who continue to work on the frontlines serving the Tucson Community. Our firefighters have continued to answer the call year after year, despite falling dangerously behind the average wage market in Arizona. Tonight, we are extremely grateful for the compensation package that was just passed by Mayor and Council to help bring our firefighters, and all City employees closer, to a competitive wage in Tucson."

"We would like to thank Mayor Romero for her leadership and dedication to the employees of Tucson and the entire council for their support tonight. We would also like to thank Mr. Ortega and his staff for his collaborative approach to working with our Union, and our Fire Chief to make this huge step a reality. We look forward to continuing our work with ALL stakeholders to ensure that our firefighters are brought up to 100% of the competitive market in the very near future."

Don Jorgenson, President of the Tucson Police Officers Association (TPOA):

"We are grateful that Mayor and Council, along with City Manager, Mike Ortega, are bringing all city employees to competitive market pay. A sustainable workforce is necessary to achieve the goals our council, manager and community have identified for the future. We are also thankful the Manager commissioned the first employee salary study in years. This is a multi-year solution taking the first step towards competitive pay for city employees."