All Panama City human resources director Kim Pilcher had to do was read some of the comments from a recent survey to sum up the sentiments of city workers.
"Happy to work here? Yes. Happy to work for the city of Panama City and proud about that? Yes," Pilcher said, "happy about their pay? No."
Mayor Greg Brudnicki and city commissioners recently requested the survey after hearing grumblings from some employees.
"I know that there had been some concerns over the last couple years that we have discussed," said Panama City Police Chief Scott Ervin. "That's what prompted the mayor and commissioner to actually go outside, seek a company to do an audit of the city."
The study found that Panama City paying between 20% and 50% less for starting workers in a number of areas, including the police department.
But, as Pilcher explains, the city has run into problems when they've simply raised the pay scale across the board. "When a brand new person walking in off the street on day one is making what your person on year 10 is making, that causes some real rub with the employees," she said, "so we knew we had to address our pay plan."
The commission will be looking at ways to give merit increase to long time employees while taking care of those entry level hires. The biggest problem this year may be giving the increases while living within the city's budget.
When News Channel 7 as assistant city manager Jeff Brown how likely it was city employees would see a raise, he paused before answering. "I think there is a strong will, I'll say of the commission, to see that employees see some kind of pay raise this year," he said. "The question's going to be at what level and then what are the other places...we can't raise taxes now. Where are we going be able to find the revenue to achieve that?"
The special budget meeting is set to take place Monday afternoon at 4 pm at City Hall.