River Falls up travel pay for employees

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

After much discussion, the River Falls Town Council voted to increase the per diem travel rate for employees from $30 a day to $45 a day.

Police Chief Greg Jackson asked for the increase, stating it was impossible to eat three meals a day in Orange Beach on $30.

“I tried, but breakfast at the hotel is $13.95,” he said. “The classes I go to I’m required by law to go to.”

Jackson said he put more than $100 of his own money into a recent conference.

“I cannot afford to spend that kind of money,” he said.

Additionally, the council addressed per diem rates for less than 12 hours of travel.

Before the meeting, the town was paying $11.25 per diem for six to 12 hours of travel.

“The auditors told me we can’t pay per meal,” River Falls Mayor Patricia Gunter said.

Gunter also said that the town wouldn’t pay if the meal was provided as part of the conference.

Council member Richard Bowden said he thought that it was more economical to do a per diem than a cost per meal.

Bowden motioned for the town to increase per diem pay to $45 per day, and to have employees provide receipts for reimbursement when travelling and for six to 12 hours.

Additionally, Jackson asked the council to consider pay raises for town employees.

Jackson said he had been receiving a lot of phone calls around 2 a.m., for calls, but had not been claiming the hours.

He also said he had to leave his job at the Drug Task Force to work because the other officer was out of hours.

“I’m asking you to help the employees,” he said. “Gantt is on state retirement. The police chief there is on salary and there is health insurance for the city clerk.”

Jackson said employees at River Falls currently get no benefits.

City Clerk Mary Ann Andrews said she hasn’t had a raise in the three years the council has been in office.

Bowden said he was surprised to find out that Jackson was paid at an hourly rate.

Wages reminded the council that Jackson had another job.

“I don’t see what having another job has to do with this,” President Pro Tem Mattie Freeney said.

Wages said he had no problem with Jackson getting compensated when he gets a call after hours.

Bowden said the potential raises is something the council should make an action item and not let drag on.