AVON PARK — After much discussion, the Avon Park City Council voted 3-2 to freeze employee salaries with Mayor Garrett Anderson and Deputy Mayor Jim Barnard voting “no” on the issue.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager David Flowers said he provided council with a list of employees that were added or moved to a different position. In March, he provided a list of changes since November.
Now there are 13 positions that have changed since then and there are more open positions, he said.
Councilman Stanley Spurlock said he was concerned that the city was searching for money to try to finish some projects and some money was moved out of the general fund.
“I would like to make a motion that we freeze all raises at this point in time,” he said.
Councilwoman Maria Sutherland noted that some city workers have union agreements that call for automatic increases.
Spurlock said that would be separate. He called for a salary freeze for employees who were not covered by a union agreement.
Mayor Garrett Anderson said that instead of a salary freeze, Spurlock should ask the questions he is concerned about.
Spurlock responded, “I just think we are spending too much money.”
Councilwoman Maria Sutherland said she would second Spurlock’s motion for the sake of discussion.
Anderson asked Spurlock if there was anything in particular about the hiring or pay changes that concerned him?
Spurlock said the city has four open positions and the city has given a lot of raises and it needs to be freezed at this point in time.
Flowers said, “We have not given a lot of raises; I don’t know what you are talking about on that. We have adjusted some; we have taken some out of a part-time position and put them into full-time positions.”
Flowers noted there are two open positions that he is required to fill by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Sutherland said that would be a freeze on hiring.
Spurlock said he wanted a freeze on any raises.
Flowers said, “You all are getting real close to the day-to-day operations of what I am trying to accomplish.”
Deputy Mayor Jim Barnard made a motion to postpone indefinitely Spurlock’s motion for a salary freeze until there is a more complete report on salaries. Sutherland seconded the motion.
The motion to postpone Spurlock’s motion indefinitely failed 3-2 with Barnard and Anderson voting “yes.”
The motion to impose a salary freeze passed by a 3-2 vote with Barnard and Anderson voting “no.”