ONTARIO — City Council approved increased hourly wages for Ontario city employees at its meeting Wednesday.
Council President Eddie Gallo said the personnel committee has been discussing wages and benefits with public employees for a few months in executive sessions.
Gallo said Ontario City Council approved police wage increases earlier this year to help retain and attract police officers.
“We chose to get the police wages at a more competitive place,” he said, “and as a response to that, office workers said, ‘Hey, what about us?’”
Some wage gaps exist because of titles and their separate responsibilities. A police captain’s wage is 9% more than lieutenant and the police chief’s wage is 10% higher than a captain’s in Ontario.
Ordinance No. 22-48, passed Wednesday, states full-time office personnel shall receive a 10% hourly wage increase retroactive to March 24, 2022. Wages vary based on the positions and city department.
Third Ward Ontario Councilwoman Sherry Branham, chair of the personnel committee, said another important addition of the ordinance was wellness checks, similar to fitness examinations. These can be organized by the city on behalf of an employee and employees won’t miss pay or sick time.
“We encourage wellness, it benefits the city and keeps insurance costs down,” she said.
Gallo said City Council will continue to discuss wage and benefit concerns with unions and non-unionized workers alike. Unions negotiate and agree to collective bargaining agreements different from the city ordinances.
Also in Wednesday’s meeting:
— City Council voted to enter the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Bridge Inspection Program to determine where bridge maintenance can be improved.
— Gallo thanked service workers for quickly repairing the city’s water line breaks over the weekend.
— City Council read through the first draft of 2023 budget allocations, which will be finalized in December.
— Police Chief Tommy Hill presented ideas for updating the Police Department’s technology with available funds.
— City Council authorized the mayor or recreation director to donate funds to groups who volunteered at the Ontario Haunted Hollow Trail.