Rockford Aldermen Approve Salary Increases

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Just one week after approving a three percent pay increase for all non-union employees, some Rockford aldermen voted tonight to approve more dramatic raises.

Members of the Finance and Personnel Committee voted 3 to 2 tonight to increase salaries for several management positions, one of them would get a more than $23,000 increase.

Committee members spoke their minds about the raises. Those who support the increases say non-union city employees, like some police officers and firefighters, have not received raises for about three years.

They also say employees are leaving Rockford for jobs in other areas that pay more. And current union members aren't taking management promotions since they'd be taking a pay cut.

However those against the salary bumps say the increases are too much, especially when other programs are suffering.

"But not when we've taken out street lights, not when we've cut back on the budget, not when we've done all these things. Everyone is worth 29 percent (increase), lord knows they are but being worth it and being able to pay it are two different things," said 7th Ward Alderman Ann Thompson-Kelly.

This is what the salary increase proposals look like:

The Information Technology (IT) Director would get a $23,249 increase from $86,751.20 to $110,000.

The Human Services (HS) Director would get a $4,207 increase from $94,036.80 to $98,244.

Fire District Chief would get a $4,628 increase from $92,543.36 to $97,170.53.

Fire Division Chiefs would get a $5,101 increase from $102,024 to $107,125.20.

Police Lieutenants would get a $4,632 increase from $92,539.20 to $97,170.53.

Central Services Manager would get a $9,073 increase from $70,054.40 to $79,127.

The full city council voted 8 to 5 tonight to approve the committee's report.. But the council must still vote on the actual ordinance, and that's expected to happen next week. The ordinance also includes a $20,000 salary study and a $300/month stipend for the mayor. The stipend has been an ordinance since 2003 but was never implemented.

Also tonight, the Finance and Personnel Committee laid over an intergovernmental agreement to the state comptroller's Local Debt Recovery Program. It would help the city collect unpaid fines by taking money directly from the state, that's owed to a resident. For example if a resident has an unpaid fine, like a parking ticket, the city could take that money out of a resident's state tax refund check, before he or she got the check.

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