I-Team: City Gives Pay Increases

LAS VEGAS -- The City of Las Vegas is giving some employees pay increases even though layoffs may still be a possibility.

City leaders met at a mountaintop retreat all day Monday to come up with plans to avoid more job losses. The finely polished graphics and presentations boiled down to one truth: The City of Las Vegas faces free-falling budget projections during the recession. Currently, the numbers are stable but fragile.

See what salaries were increased

"We finished the year in the black last year, almost $12 million to the good. When we were predicting a $20 million deficit," City Manager Elizabeth Fretwell said. She added that the savings were due, in large part, to concessions and cost containment.

The City has laid off 600 employees over three years. By combining departments and shifting remaining employees, $3.5 million was saved.

Fretwell said the City spent about $300,000 to give pay increases to employees who were taking on more responsibilities.

The Las Vegas Peace Officers Association put out a statement criticizing the timing of pay increases with further layoffs possible.

"Hopefully we won't have more layoffs. I think the City is really on the verge of strongly coming back and I'd like to see us hire back some of our people," said Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

The City has already hired back 10 percent of the employees that were laid off.

"It's been absolutely phenomenal to me, who just took office in July, to see how everybody made a sacrifice to get us where we are right now," Mayor Goodman said.

Among the information talked about at the retreat on Mount Charleston was a survey that shows residents rate economic development the most important government task but believe it's seen the least progress.

It cost the city less than $4,000 to conduct the Mount Charleston retreat.


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