Phase 1a Simpsonville Employee Compensation Increases

Final vote for Phase 1a of the Simpsonville employee compensation updates was tonight. Resolution 2019-04 passed unanimously!

Background: We did a citywide employee classification and compensation study. I’ve been calling for that since 2016. Our employees are our greatest asset. They provide quality service and deserve pay more commensurate with their responsibilities, experience, and education.

The long-term plan is to get every employee up to the minimum of their new classification. It will cost 1.7 million dollars, so we’re going in phases.

Phase 1a: the folks with “boots on the ground” at SPD and SFD. Cost $322,500. NO tax increase.

We found 1/3 of that cost in the current budget. And will use FY19 surplus to cover the remainder. FY19 surplus = $2,000,000. This is an excellent use of that money IMO. Again, we are not increasing taxes for our citizens to fund this. This is a win for everyone. We need the pay raises for those who put their lives on the line for us every day. I’ve been pushing for PD & FD recruitment & retention since 2016.

Just give out an idea of what this looks like for the men and women who protect us every day, our SPD starting pay for a patrol officer will increase from $34,775 to $38,862. Starting pay for firefighter will increase from $30,360 to $35,742.

This will improve recruitment and retention, make us competitive with our sister cities, and is a fairer pay for the good work they do. Within two years, we will implement step increases to ensure experience is rewarded. If you work with us for five years, your pay should reflect that.

Phase 1b will get all other city employees up to their new minimums. We expect to incorporate this into the FY21 budget. Phase 1b cost = $550,000. Phase 2 will be getting all employees step increases to compensate for tenure in the new classification. This phased approach is fiscally responsible. Council only voted on Phase 1a because 1b and 2 will be accounted for in the FY21 & FY22 budgets.

This is the kind of long-term planning I’ve been arguing for since elected. Finally making progress!

Serve & Connect

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been attending the Municipal Association of SC Annual Meeting this week. One of the sessions that Councilman Lou Hutchings and I attended together was called “Connecting Law Enforcement with the Communities They Serve.” The speaker was Kassy Alia Ray who began the organization Serve & Connect after her husband, a police officer in Forest Acres, was shot in the line of duty. This woman is truly an inspiration. Her presentation was moving and motivating. She took the worst thing to ever happen to her, and she created something that helps law enforcement and communities across the state. Councilman Hutchings and I were very interested in how our Simpsonville Police Department might be able to pair with this organization. But we also reflected on how very fortunate we are in Simpsonville to have a police department that is already so focused on community efforts. Whether it’s events like the one I attended at Gateway Village Apartments, our upcoming National Night Out 2019, a summer kids camp, or the everyday small but important acts of service we never see and that they never brag about, our PD makes me proud to call Simpsonville #SimplyHome. National Night Out is August 6th at City Park; come out and meet these and other first responders for yourself. #SimplyServing

Meeting Updates

ICYMI: here are some updates from last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting:

Public Works

  • All temporary easements have been sign and work will soon begin on the sidewalks in Woodside Mill area.
  • Engineering work has begun on the headways in Hunters’ Hill road and Powderhorn Dr.
  • Street crews have cleaned 60 storm drains to allow for quicker removal of standing water in roadways.
  • Creek crossing at Grandview repairs are underway. We only have one remaining in Poinsettia.

Police Department

  • Police Department has renewed their traffic safety grant in the amount of $62,000.00. The grant funds the position and benefits for this program.
  • A replacement traffic counter has been ordered to allow us to finish the traffic study in Hunters Woods.

Fire Department

  • Progress is still being made on Station Five.
  • Fire Department personnel will be participating in Fire Safe SC held by the State Fire Marshal Office to address reducing fire deaths within the State.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Rec have cleaned up the plaza area on North Main Street in front of Shortfields and will continue on South Main in the following weeks.

Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber has requested they be allowed to submit a monthly report as other departments within the City in lieu of appearing monthly. Staff have suggested that they appear quarterly, and they were receptive to this.

Administration

  • Planner I, Ben Hyde’s first day was the day of this meeting: September 26th. We look forward to having him on board and are excited about what he can bring to Simpsonville.
  • We have made some office changes at City Hall to allow for a conference room.
  • Interim City Administrator, Chief Wesley Williams, will be attending the Greenville Administrator meeting on September 20th.

Other new hires for August were:

  • Brandon Davis – Police
  • Diane Kennedy – Police
  • Michael Milam – Fire
  • James Mosley – Police
  • William Preston – Fire
  • Travis Tarrant – Recreation

We welcome these new employees to Team Simpsonville!  It takes all of us working together–One Simpsonville–to make Simpsonville the best it can be!

Media Release: Update on Cati Blauvelt Murder Investigation

This morning, the Simpsonville Police Department issued a press release regarding the Cati Blauvelt murder investigation. Two warrants for arrest were issued.  One suspect is in custody; the other is still at large:

If anyone has information on this case, please contact Investigator Keith Morecraft with SPD at 864.962.0289 or 864.608.5348 or kmorecraft@simpsonvillepd.com.

While nothing can bring her back or lessen the pain of her loss, the SPD has been working very hard to do what they can: bring justice for her and her family. Please continue to remember Cati’s family and friends, as well as our SPD family, in your thoughts and prayers.