Wilmington workers could get big bonus

A proposal to offer a one-time bonus of $1,000 to most Wilmington city workers – and $500 for school crossing guards – will be introduced at tonight’s City Council session.

The holiday bonus plan would cost the city about $1.2-million. 

“City employees struggle in a down economy just like other citizens, and a one-time holiday bonus is a way to express our appreciation for their efforts to keep city government strong and to keep it moving forward,” Mayor James Baker said. 

Most city employees have not received a pay raise since July 1st, 2008. 

Chief of Staff Bill Montgomery said a refinancing of the city’s debt undertaken by City Treasurer Henry Supinski made it possible to offer the bonuses.  Montgomery added that the city’s fiscal situation is still a major concern based on revenue projections over the next five years.  “We have asked our employees time and time again to do more with less for multiple years due to poor economic conditions, and they have performed their jobs admirably,” Montgomery added. 

An ordinance co-sponsored by City Council President Norman Griffiths and Council members Charles “Bud” Freel and Hanifa Shabazz is scheduled to be introduced at tonight’s meeting.  According to Griffiths, the plan is by no means a done deal.  “We are going to look at this as we do all of the initiatives that are brought before us, and decide whether or not this makes sense now in light of whether or not we truly can afford it,” Griffiths says.

The finance committee will review the proposal December 12th and City Council may take action on the legislation as early as December 15th at its next meeting.  Council members are not eligible to receive the bonus.  

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