The City of Superior isn't immune - but they're doing something about it.  Workforce shortages and employee retention has been an issue plaguing the economy over the last few years.  To help combat some of those issues, the city is expected to provide for a 5% raise for all nonunion employees, effective January 1.

The proposal cleared its first hurdle - the Human Resource Committee - during a special meeting that happened on December 22.  The next final step is the eventual approval by the Superior City Council.

To prepare for the move, the City built a 5% increase placeholder into the 2023 budget, according to details shared in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall].  If final approval is granted, the increase would make the city a more-competitive employer, according to Mayor Jim Paine.  The city's goal is having "'the vast majority' of employees to the 50th percentile of the market".  Paine explains:

"We did budget for 5% so a lot of the employees are waiting to see what the number is....They're thinking it's 5%. We think that's a fair and appropriate number for cities with our size and revenue and restrictions in Wisconsin.  It's pretty comparable to other public sector employees going into 2023."

If final authorization is granted, the move would help attract and retain employees. A 5% increase would benefit some of the positions that are most-competitive for the city - the ones that are often lost "to the private sector or other public sector entities".  Mayor Paine continues:

"The city is actually below market currently in terms of wages, but the 5% increase would get the city to market-rate wages for most professions.  Employees at the highest end of the city's pay scale that are the furthest behind and lower paid employees would move ahead of their peers."

Prior to the authorization by the Human Resource Committee, there was discussion about what a 5% increase would do to the city's "pension costs or other benefit costs associated" with it.  The Telegram details that the Mayor provided information that those extra costs were included as part of the budget calculations.

The Telegram also reported that Superior City Councilor Jenny Van Sickle abstained from a vote on the wage increase. The Councilor is married to the Mayor, and the annual salary increase for his position "is tied to the increase nonunion employees receive".

A final vote by the Superior City Council will happen during their next meeting on January 3.

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