By Steve Woodhouse Editor
The Journal Express
---- — Most of the appointed officers and non-collective bargaining unit employees of the City of Knoxville will receive a 4 percent pay increase in the coming year. Others will get more, others will get less.
Receiving the biggest pay increases, based on percentage, are City Clerk Heather Ussery (19 percent), Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik (19 percent) and Deputy City Clerk Jodi Bassett (29 percent). These adjustments are being made, based upon a market analysis.
Bassett’s pay will increase from $27,996.80 annually to $36,001.09. A survey provided to the Knoxville City Council shows that Knoxville paid the least to the Deputy City Clerk, when compared to several towns with comparable populations. The same is true for the City Clerk position, whose pay will increase from $40,144 to $48,000.18.
Bassett and Ussery have also gone through training and earned city clerk certifications through this year, according to Mayor Don Zoutte. He added that Ussery’s pay is still less than previous City Clerk, Jody Meyer, who was earning nearly $70,000.
No comparable wage schedule was provided for the Assistant City Manager. The City has not hired a Public Works Director since Jeff May left that position, and Feik has been performing many of the duties May used to handle. Feik’s pay will increase from $53,999.92 to $63,995.31, which is still less than what May was being paid.
The salary for City Manager Harold Stewart was listed on the original resolution, but it was removed. Councilor Tim Pitt was concerned about Stewart’s proposed pay level ($97,850.05) because the council did not receive that number during the budgeting process. Stewart was not present at Monday’s meeting to respond.
Feik explained that this would be Stewart’s first merit-based pay increase since coming to Knoxville. Stewart earned $90,000 prior to December, when the council increased his pay to $95,000. This was due, in part, to Stewart’s housing difficulties. He struggled to sell his previous home and was living in a house owned by the City rent-free for the first several months of his tenure.
Pitt still had questions about increasing Stewart’s pay, six months after Stewart’s last pay increase, and made a motion to approve the salaries, with the exception of the City Manager. The motion passed, 3-2, with Councilors April Verwers and Elsie Kemp dissenting.
Pay rates approved included:
• Office Manager Therese Augustin, $37,077.25, up from $35,651.20
• Fire Chief Nick Bonstell, $59,000 (no change)
• Engineering Tech Richard Breese, $42,961.15, up from $41,308.80
• Lt. Randy Emal, $52,673.92, up from $50,648
• Lt. Aaron Fuller, $50,748.67, up from $48,796.80
• Building Inspector Craig Greene, $25,698.82, up from $24,710.40
• Paramedic Specialist Greg Higginbotham, $41,619.97, up from $37,128
• EMT-B Rescue Val Kemp, $32,599.42, up from $31,345.60
• Police Chief Dan Losada, $73,188.84, up from $70,373.89
• Wastewater Superintendent Patrick Murphy, $52,652.29, up from $50,627.20
• Recreation Supervisor Brandon Nemmers, $55,033.97, up from $52,917.28
• Wellness Supervisor Tricia Worrall, $40,343.68, up from $38,792