Century Talks Rescinded Raises; Worth of Employees

February 28, 2017

A week after the Century Town Council reversed pay raises for all employees that were given by the mayor, the council sat down Monday night with Mayor Henry Hawkins to discuss employee salaries and future potential raises.

After taking office in January, Hawkins gave each employee 53-cent per hour pay increase. The money to fund the 53-cent per hour pay increase for each employee came from the salary of street department employee that quit in January and was not replaced. Hawkins said that since the funds were already budgeted for salaries, he simply divided the salary among the remaining employees.

“It was money already allocated; it was money already budgeted,” Hawkins said, defending his actions, as Council President Ann Brooks disagreed.

She said Hawkins is limited to spending just $200 for non-emergencies by the town charter, forcing the council to take back the raises.

“To give the men a raise and then take it back is really like a kick in the teeth,” Water Superintendent Alicia Jernigan told the council on behalf of her department’s employees.

“We have people that work for the city, and it’s embarrassing to say, they get food stamps…We do not pay no where close to what anybody else is paying, period, nowhere. There is not a job here that anybody do [sic] that’s not worth at least $15 an hour. And all I am saying is we have to step up and take care of our people as they take care of this town,” Hawkins said.

“That’s not a reasonable rate of pay,” Brooks said of the $15 per hour for every employee.

Brooks said town employees were given a two-percent across the board pay hike the beginning of the fiscal year. She told Hawkins that time to negotiate any raises is during the budget setting process .

“We just gave a raise in October,” Brooks said. Budget time is when to give raises.”

Council member Ben Boutwell reminded Hawkins and the town employees present at Monday night’s meeting that the town charter and budget process must be followed.

“”We are citizens of this town too,” Boutwell said of the council. “There’s 20 something (employees) that we are talking about now, but we also have to worry about the 1,700 plus that live in this town. So we have to think of everyone.”

The Town of Century currently has 19 employees, plus five paid council members ($3,606/yearly each) and a paid mayor ($9,836/yearly).  The lowest paid employee is a citizens services clerk hired last September that makes $8.21 per hour, just barely above minimum wage ($8.10). A second citizens services clerk, hired over a year ago, makes $9.58 per hour. The other 17 employees are paid in excess of $10 per hour.

The highest paid employees — the town clerk, street supervisor and water superintendent — each earn $21.30 per hour.

Century employees can also earn up to five weeks paid vacation plus a additional four weeks paid sick leave annually.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


40 Responses to “Century Talks Rescinded Raises; Worth of Employees”

  1. David Huie Green on March 4th, 2017 11:27 am

    “It’s Not Embarrassing to receive food Stamps,”

    It should be.
    It indicates personal inadequacy requiring others to carry you.
    If necessary, so be it, but not a source of pride.

    David for deserved pride

  2. Mary Cottrell on March 3rd, 2017 8:01 pm

    It’s Not Embrassing to recive food Stamps, Since our Bills Are So High, They just don’t Give Us Enough…

  3. Mary Cottrell on March 3rd, 2017 7:52 pm

    while They given Raises Buying New Trucks Going Up On Our Bills, Why Do We Have To Pay All That…

  4. David Huie Green on March 1st, 2017 10:13 pm

    “It appears that the mayor’s reasoning is sound, that the money was already in the budget for wages…. when it’s actually in the budget already… That makes little sense”

    If you authorize someone to spend $100 on rice for you and he gives it to a homeless person, that might be a good thing but not what he was authorized to do with the money entrusted to him.

    David for understanding

  5. EPenn on March 1st, 2017 3:52 pm

    It appears that the mayor’s reasoning is sound, that the money was already in the budget for wages. I’m not sure how the council can say that budget time is the time for raises, when it’s actually in the budget already… That makes little sense… no extra taxes were levied or was a deficit incurred…

  6. Job Applicant on March 1st, 2017 3:25 pm

    Is there an opening in the Street Department?–Will work for Food ;)

  7. Kate on March 1st, 2017 3:13 pm

    Ms. Brooks, has no respect for the employees and should be reconsidered for a seat on Council. 0.53 is so little in today’s economy. Her statement about clerical and they value they bring to the CIty of not being up to”15.00″ an hour is an insult to women and men. When a person has no respect for humanity they should stay home and cook for their husbands.

  8. Nod on March 1st, 2017 2:04 pm

    Seems to me that most of you are missing the point of this whole story. The mayor broke the rules and the law. Is it ok for you to take from your neighbor on the left and give it to your neighbor on the right. All you are doing is what you beleive to be right and after all they can afford it while the other needs it. Should you be praised for breaking the law because you figured it was ok? No. And that is just what the mayor did. Maybe the workers do need and deserve a pay raise but do it legally. I suuport the working people.

  9. Kevin Merchant on March 1st, 2017 1:45 pm

    I will post whatever I want under my real name because what is an opinion if no one knows who the opinion belongs to. Until someone shows me in black and white that I can’t post about issues in the company that I work for good luck on making me stop

  10. chris on March 1st, 2017 1:28 pm

    I wonder if the same individuals who are ok with the fifty cent raise are ok when their taxes go up. I seem to recall all kinds of fussing concerning sewer/water/garbage fees being increased.

  11. Sylvia Godwin on March 1st, 2017 1:21 pm

    The workers deserve the raise and I can’ tell you for a fact because my husband worked for the town for twenty five years. They work hard and some of them are called out at all hours night or day. We have hurried home from Pensacola a few times because the former mayor called and needed him to do something for him. He had already planned to retire when the tornado came and tore everything up. He said I can’t retire and leave the town in a mess they need me now and I want let them down. He had already started having some health issues but he hung in there until it was finished. When hurricane Ivan came and the streets were in such a mess they worked until dark trying to get things back to normal for all these ungrateful people that are complaining about a fifty cent raise. As far as I’m concerned shame on the whole bunch of you!

  12. Retired on March 1st, 2017 11:36 am

    @Kevin Merchant
    I think it is a policy for employees to not get involved in comments on here. I believe the drama and blame game is against the rules, although you have probably already been summoned and reminded of that.
    When in our human interaction, we get in conflict and try to decide who is the “bad guy” the “good guy” and the “victim” and the “rescuer” it is dysfunctional and non productive.
    The finger pointing starts and the roles constantly shift. (google karpman triangle)
    It happens everyday all over the place, when we learn to recognize it and move away from it, it’s a better world.
    Get to work. :)
    (Thank you for what you do)
    And all you Town Employees much gratitude to you, we have sent that sentiment in often, I hope you got the message!

  13. Kevin Merchant on March 1st, 2017 8:58 am

    From one town employee to the rest,why will yaw not put your name on your comment

  14. Mike Amerson on March 1st, 2017 4:55 am

    Here’s my two cents. While working all my years with Esc’ Co’, I never worked with a department that done a dollar amount across the board raise. They always done what they would call an “across the board raise”, but done it in a % amount. I never agreed with this and I’ll explain. If you give a 10% across the board raise to two different employees with one making 15K a year, that employee would get an extra 1500.00 a year. Within that same department, another employee making 45K a year would receive an extra 4500.00 a year. Now if you take the Sheriffs Office for a very good example and multiply that by the amount of employees it has, you’re talking a lot of money for one year of “across the board raises”. If you take those same two employees under the new Mayors guidelines, both would get a 1102.40 [combined 2204.80] per year raise in lieu of a combined total from the “across the board” raise above of 6000.00. Now it kind of gives you an idea of how much the Tax Payers foot this long standing way of giving out raises and why the budgets are always so high for departments such as the Sheriffs Office. A common employee working for let’s say Jane Doe’s Construction Co’ would be grateful for a .53 cent per hour raise but would be even happier at a 10%. The only problem is the regular owner of that company doesn’t have the check book that the Co’ does with the Tax Payers footing the bill. This is just a simple way at looking at raises and the difference of one with a budget such as the construction co’ owner and county and state politics in regards to raises. To sum it up, my hat is off to the new Mayor for his way of thinking and keep up the good work. I’m sure that some of the old Mayor’s friends/family were in attendance at the Public meeting just to try and make you look bad. Keep looking past them into what you want to accomplish and keep trying to take care of your employees like you are. In turn, those same employees will take care of your town and citizens with more pride. Mike Amerson Also, it needs to be made clear William that a new employee doesn’t earn that amount of time off to begin with and maybe show what a new employee gets starting out regarding leave time etc.. A lot of folks are thinking that within your first years, you’ve earned all this leave time off.

  15. Retired on March 1st, 2017 2:37 am

    “Complaining is a person’s way of acknowledging that they are not happy with the way things are. When we complain or criticize, we are tearing down an undesirable structure in order to make room for something new. But if all we do is tear down, never bothering to summon the creative energy required to create something new, we are not fulfilling the process. In fact, we are at risk for becoming a stagnant and destructive force in our own lives and in the lives of the people we love. Another issue with complaining is that we sometimes tend to focus on other people, whom we can’t change, as a way of deflecting attention from the one person we can change–ourselves. So transforming complaining into something useful is a twofold process that begins with turning our critical eye to look at things we can actually do something about, and then taking positive action.”

  16. E Davis on March 1st, 2017 12:26 am

    Ok, no man comes into position perfect. Every man has his own program and implements it the way he sees fit. It always amazes me how everybody can tell someone how to do their job but if you knew how to do his job why didn’t YOU run for Mayor. I commend his initiative and efforts to bring about morale and Esprit de corps among Town Associates, however, he might want to consult council members prior, that’s what they’re there for. And all of you would be mayors please find a hobby & let the man do his job. Good luck, Mr. Mayor.

  17. My53cents on March 1st, 2017 12:20 am

    The Dawn of a New Century. We need progression NOT resession. The bottom line is EVERYONE has to realize this Town needs much improvement! On every aspect of the sort! From PAY to BUSINESSES…EDUCATION to TRADE, maintaince of the apprearance, TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR TOWN! Most of all, The Towns people, ALL of you reading this, need a change in your attitudes toward one another, whether it be due to ignorance towards race, religion or money status ect. Then, perhaps we can introduce Century into 2017.
    Public Notice:
    All of these comments have value! Express them at a Town Hall meeting where they can be heard. Everyone is Welcome.
    Monday March 6th 7pm Town Hall

  18. Serious on February 28th, 2017 11:50 pm

    The point is the elected officials take an oath of office. They promise to uphold the laws set forth in the town charter. They need to be serious and read it prior to taking that oath, same as for this newly elected councilman. If they do not uphold their oath there are consequences, it is the law simple as that. An elected official had a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens and the charter has punishments and fines including jail time if they fail. There are checks and balances and if an official is not accountable he can be removed from office.

  19. David Huie Green on February 28th, 2017 10:11 pm

    “Also, $15 an hour is not a reasonable amount of pay? Was that remark meant these employees are worth far less?”

    Right or wrong, it is a statement regarding the worth of the work done.
    I figure the value of a worker is seen by the cost or expense if the job is done improperly.
    Generally, it is figured based on what pay will find people willing and able to do the job properly.

    “You get what you pay for: so go hire yourself minimum wage people with no experience: and pay the costs:”

    You don’t always get what you pay for.
    Some people will give less than full effort or will not be able to do a job right
    just because you suddenly pay them ten times as much as you did the day before.

    Nor does an employee automatically do a worse job just because pay is below that of someone doing the same job in some other part of the country where the cost of living is ten times as high, let us say.

    This is not to say competent folks won’t look elsewhere if they believe they will get better respect elsewhere. Respect is shown many ways as is disrespect.

    David for respecting the deserving

  20. Kevin Merchant on February 28th, 2017 9:22 pm

    Council members i keep the shop open all day and I am there mostly all day with the doors wide open. I invite you to come in and I will gladly discuss any of my comments with any of you. It seems to me some of the council are manipulated by a few upset citizens,and some are there for the free insurance and retirement.

  21. Kevin Merchant on February 28th, 2017 9:15 pm

    I’m the town Mechanic,I’ve been there 4 years. I don’t get 5 weeks vacation and 4 weeks sick leave and I don’t make $15 an hour. I however feel like I very much deserve it. I work on everything from the weed eaters to the bull dozier,and I keep it all running. Including 22 natural gas generators and 4 diesel generators. Who votes on the council members raises. The former Mayor gave raises throughout the year not just at budget time. Some of council seem upset because of who won Mayor spot.

  22. Town employee on February 28th, 2017 8:24 pm

    Who votes on raises for the council. $3606 a year for 24 meetings seems a little much to me,I mean are they really worth that much

  23. Trying to figure it out on February 28th, 2017 7:45 pm

    A good question to ask is Who votes on raises for the council?

  24. Trying to figure it out on February 28th, 2017 7:42 pm

    County and state employees get approximately the same benefits benefits but better retirement than the city employees. I’ve seen them guys working in pure sewer all day. 15 dollars can’t touch what they’re worth in my eyes. Do any of you know how dangerous natural gas is to work in,didn’t figure you did. I think they deserve everything they get and then some.

  25. Nod on February 28th, 2017 7:29 pm

    US NAVY, 30 days paid vacation, all the sick lv you can handle and then light duty and we pay all medical and dental 100%. And Starting pay higher than min wage. Free travel with lots of exotic places. Join the Navy see the world, grow up and retire in 20 years and start a new career. It is a wonderful life. Then you do not have to bicker over a 50 cent raise.

  26. Larry on February 28th, 2017 4:58 pm

    “Up to 5 weeks seems a little excessive” Upon googing average paid days off for U.S. and other countries . I always think its best to compare ourselves to others to find room for improvement though
    America 0 days no statutory minimum paid vacation or paid public holidays
    Australia 30 days paid required (includes paid holidays)
    Brazil 22 days paid required plus holiday pay required
    Canada 16 days pay required (includes paid holidays)
    France 25 days pay required plus 11 days Holiday pay
    Israel 11 days pay required plus 9 days Holiday pay
    U.K. 28 days paid required, No holidays

  27. Employee on February 28th, 2017 2:23 pm

    Everyone does not get the 5 weeks of vacation and sick leave you have to work here 25 years to get that. Also some people here go threw extra schooling to obtain license to run water and sewer operation s to stay incompliance with the state not everyone can just walk up and just do some of the jobs and the knowledge the employee s have that are making a little extra can not just be replaced and is worth every penny you could pay them.

  28. resident on February 28th, 2017 1:54 pm

    that is too much vacation and sick leave. How about insurance policy. Are the employees and council buying their own health insurance or are the citizens paying for it.
    council keep looking.

  29. JM on February 28th, 2017 1:00 pm

    5 weeks vacation: built up to this after 25 years of employment: sick days are just that: Sick Days, not extra vacation. To make light of a person’ situation is not just petty, it’s heartless. To say that a person’s worth is somehow equated to an hourly wage; we would all do good to take a step back and look at our own worth, are you worth what you get paid: Do you even work? These employees provide a service; a function to keep the Town of Century residents with water, sewer, gas, and maintaining of roads. They not only provide a service, they have to maintain miles and miles of underground utilities, meet EPA standards, County standards and State standards: they have to keep every piece of equipment running, install and repair the fields and lights so that our kids can enjoy playing baseball and other activities. When you turn on your water, flush the toilet, or drive down a street you don’t have to swerve potholes, you can thank a town employee for that! They are worth every cent and more: most have them haven given their life to the Town of Century and the residents living within the town limits and outside the town limits too. We would all do well to remember the little things that are a convience to us everyday: someone had to do their job for us to be comfortable. Also, $15 an hour is not a reasonable amount of pay? Was that remark meant these employees are worth far less? The whole council needs to step back and look at the big picture. You get what you pay for: so go hire yourself minimum wage people with no experience: and pay the costs: you’ll find the costs of the current employee’s wages is going to be a cakewalk compared to delapidating underground utilities, sewer system failure, water contamination levels, parks that are in disarray, streets unkept, not to mention fines imposed at different levels of government because of your griping about a .50 hour raise! Come on folks: Really!!!

  30. anne 1of2 on February 28th, 2017 12:28 pm

    5 weeks of vacation paid & 4 weeks of sick leave, paid plus 10 Monday holidays paid, (three day weekends) Have I got this figured right? Who on earth gets 4 weeks of sick pay? This has to be wrong, I’d fire that person. That $15.00 an hour that everyone wants will only cause milk to go to $5.00 a gallon and cause many to lose their jobs. I’d rather make minimum wage as to do the work of 2 people.

  31. Citizen on February 28th, 2017 11:27 am

    The Mayor, not knowing the town charter is really an embarrassment.

    The people voting him in over Ben Boutwell is another embarrassment.

    For the Mayor to try to do something as one of his first acts with out knowing the law or rules and causes all this negative attention is the main problem and raises other questions of his abilities.What else has he done or not done correctly?
    What a way to lower the morale of our employees.

    BTW, some of the employees are the best you will ever find.

    The fact you have an accountant, Ann, and two past military men on the council, Ben and Kevin, so far is Century’s saving grace.

    Century need competent, knowledgeable, government political leaders, and citizens that know about rules, laws, government organizations and political affiliations, utility concerns, environmental regulations.

    Hope the people do better with the election tonight.

  32. nod on February 28th, 2017 9:08 am

    Soldiers make less? Check your military pay scales and their allowances for medical and food and housing etc. there’s 30 days paid vacation every year from the beginning check it all out then see what they make. I spent 25 years in the United States Navy, I know.

  33. solution on February 28th, 2017 8:51 am

    Maybe Mr. Hawks could give up his salary to “build morale” or maybe the employee that quit wasn’t really needed

  34. sammie jo on February 28th, 2017 7:28 am

    We have a bad situation our town, We have angry employees. I would be also . They were given a raise….inappropriately..Then the council HAD to do their job and take it back. It is true that some make very little money…………some also do very little work.Every employee knew what the job paid when they applied for and took the job. Some work VERY hard. I hope those who are angry will stop and understand…….Mr. Hawkins gave the money without the council”s agreeing……..HE started this mess. maybe trying to “build morale”…Now instead , he has angry employees. Angry at the wrong person. You would think he knew the RULES of the charter. He sat on the council for a full term. Please people……try to understand IT IS NOT BUDGET TIME… THAT WILL BE LATER (JULY??).Try to do your job and be thankful that you have one. Have an attitude that will make you a happy person. Anger takes your positive energy and turns it into negative.

  35. Carolyn Bramblett on February 28th, 2017 7:24 am

    To justify being lawless by using people’s economic troubles–is retarded–at the minimum. There was a time in this country that if one couldn’t get a good paying job then one went and found one. To justify lawlessness because one uses the “food stamp” program is disgusting. Stop using government handouts and see if that inspires you to live within your means on the salary you agreed to or go find another job on your own.

  36. ROBERT on February 28th, 2017 7:21 am

    15$ an hour is embarassing???? Soldiers make less and they have a way more important stressful job.

  37. just sayin on February 28th, 2017 7:17 am

    wowww it’s a said day that three employee makes$21.30 per hr. to set around and do nothing then you got three more employee riding and burning towns gas on back roads another all in flomaton with company vehicles wasteful spending and the councils can’t agree on a raise sad day let’s all get on the same page here let the employee know their worth

  38. chris on February 28th, 2017 7:13 am

    Nowhere in this article did it mention that any town employee is forced to work there. If the pay rate is inadequate, it’s a free country. Go work somewhere else.

  39. Sam on February 28th, 2017 6:33 am

    The pay scale is not high. Neither is the tax base. 1700 people in century cannot support more than what was posred in the article. Get more businesses n town. Get more jobs for people. Get people off the government dole.

  40. area resident on February 28th, 2017 5:50 am

    Something is very wrong when a person needs five weeks vacation and four weeks sick pay and is on food stamps. Oops! I forgot, we’re talking about government employees. And, what makes the clerk so special? Maybe he/she should go out with the road crew and dig a ditch or two in the hot, humid, summer sun and see what it really means to WORK! What was it he said, “…government is the problem.”