East Grand Forks City Council OKs more pay, benefitsThe East Grand Forks City Council approved a compensation plan Tuesday for its non-union employees. The package includes a 1.8 percent salary increase and a 10 percent increase in the city’s share of health insurance costs.
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
The East Grand Forks City Council approved a compensation plan Tuesday for its non-union employees.
The package includes a 1.8 percent salary increase and a 10 percent increase in the city’s share of health insurance costs.
“Even with the city’s 10 percent increase, insurance rates went up so much that the employees will still be paying more than the past year,” City Administrator Scott Huizenga said. “We tried to ease the insurance burden.”
Only about 20 percent of the city’s 97 fulltime employees are non-union, Huizenga said. He said that employees who are members of the unions typically receive close to the same compensation as non-union workers.
Three bow out
A plaque-awarding ceremony involving Mayor Lynn Stauss and three outgoing council members who often opposed him on issues turned into a lighthearted exchange.
Council members going off the council are Wayne Gregoire, Mike Pokrzywinski and Marc DeMers. All three were defeated in the November election — Gregoire in the mayoral race, Pokrzywinski in his re-election bid and DeMers in a run for the Legislature.
Tradition has the mayor awarding plaques to retiring employees and elected officials leaving office. During the ceremony, Stauss immediately noted their differences with him: “We haven’t agreed all the time. But your service to the city has made the city better.”
Stauss emphasized the differences when it was Pokrzywinski’s turn. “If I said it was dark, Mike said it was light. If he said it was day, I said it was night,” Stauss said.
“But you cared about the city,” the mayor said.
None of the council members referenced the friction and bid familiar goodbyes and thanks to elected officials, city workers and the public.
Given a second opportunity to speak, Pokrzywinski smiled widely and said: “I think I’ve said enough.”
The new council’s next meeting is Jan. 8, when Chad Grassel replaces Pokrzywinski, Clarence Vetter replaces DeMers and Mark Olstad replaces Gregoire.
Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.