City amends salary ordinance

In order to stay in compliance with the Fair Labor Standard Act, the Warsaw City Council Monday night approved an amendment to its 2016 salary ordinance regarding Airport Manager Nick King’s pay.

Mayor Joe Thallemer explained to the council that the ordinance was “a reaction to a change in the federal requirement. It regards the salaries of exempt and non-exempt employees.”
The final rule raises the salary threshold from $455 a week ($23,660 for a full-year worker) to $913 a week ($47,476).

“If an employee was making more than that, they could be an exempt employee so that they can’t collect overtime,” Thallemer said.

The new rule only affects one Warsaw employee this year, King, and the salary ordinance amendment raises his salary by about $5 per week to get him to that exempt level.

“So his salary was just below where he would have been eligible for overtime,” Thallemer said.

Jennifer Whitaker, Warsaw human resources director, said, “We don’t have any control over this. The only thing we can do is, if we choose not to adopt or accept this ordinance, is that the airport manager would now be eligible for time and a half for anything physically worked over 40 hours. He is right now classified as an exempt employee. The federal regulations say they’ve established a threshold, they’ve raised that. It’s going to continue to raise over the next three years, they anticipate. So this is just the first.”

The amendment must be approved before Dec. 1 or the position will be subject to overtime rules.

Thallemer said the ordinance effectively increases King’s salary by about $12 per pay period. Whitaker recommended the council adopt the ordinance and make it effective the next pay period.

In response to a councilman’s question, Whitaker said King’s current wage is $46,037, and needs to be raised to $1,826 bi-weekly. The city only has eight pay periods left in this year.
Thallemer said the city was fortunate in that it only had to adjust one employee’s salary.
Councilwoman Cindy Dobbins said she didn’t have a problem with it and she motioned for the ordinance to be approved. It was approved on first and second reading.

In other business, the council:
• Adopted an additional appropriation to put matching dollars into a line for the budget in funds the council created at its last meeting to receive restricted state grant dollars. The state grant money has not yet been received by the city but is expected soon.
• Heard from Mike Loher, Kosciusko Celebrates Indiana’s Bicentennial committee member, about the events planned Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 to mark the occasion.

The Bicentennial Torch Relay starts at about 9:45 a.m. Sept. 29 at Warsaw Community High School and travels up to Lakeside Park in Syracuse. The Decades of Music program is that night at 7 p.m. at Grace College Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center.

From 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 30, there will be a bash downtown, Loher said.

All the events will be at the fairgrounds Oct. 1, including a parade starting at 10 a.m. Loher said a highlight of that day’s activities will be a NASA program at 4 p.m. in the Lakeview Middle School auditorium.