D.C. Mayor Marion Barry yesterday proposed a 6 percent pay raise for 7,700 nonunion city workers, about a quarter of the District government's workforce, and recommended that his top officials receive an increase of more than 13 percent to $63,700 a year.
"This is critical to our continuing ability to recruit and retain a highly skilled work force, especially at the management level," the mayor said in a statement released with the proposal. "This will assure use of compensation levels which are competitive with surrounding jurisdictions and the federal government."
Barry also proposed that nonunion police and fire employes, mainly supervisors, receive the same 7 percent raise that the uniformed police and firefighters are to receive in fiscal 1984.
If approved by the D.C. City Council, the raises would go into effect on Oct. 2, the same day that most of the city's union workers are to receive a 6 percent increase under the terms of multi-year contracts. In transmitting the proposal to City Council Chairman David A. Clarke, the mayor asked that the council act on it at the Sept. 20 legislative session.
The pay increases would apply mainly to managers and supervisors, because they are generally the workers not represented by unions.
The 6 percent increase applies to the entire District Service grade scale, including wages of the city's top officials.
But the highest-level officials would get a much larger increase because the mayor has proposed lifting the current $56,301 salary ceiling, which has kept the actual salaries of some 259 officials capped at less than what they would otherwise have been entitled to according to the scale. The salary cap for federal employes is $63,800.
If the District's ceiling is lifted to $63,700, most officials at grades DS16 to DS18 and some at DS15 would get raises of $7,399 on Oct. 2.
These include the city's deputy mayors, department heads, fire chief, police chief, medical officers, and corporation counsel, among others. The raises would not affect the $74,530 salary of the mayor or the $67,200 salary of City Adminstrator Thomas Downs.
The proposed increases would cost $13.3 million in fiscal 1984, and Barry said his fiscal 1984 budget can accommodate the raises without a tax increase.
"This proposed pay increase is another indication that the District government has achieved fiscal maturity," Barry said in his submission to Clarke. "District employes made significant sacrifices three years ago--sacrifices which federal employes and other local government employes have been experiencing in more recent times."
On Thursday, Barry released a report done by the D.C. personnel office that concluded that top District officials generally are paid less than those in other large cities and in the surrounding suburbs.
Yesterday the mayor used those figures in justifying the 13 percent pay increases for high-level District officials. The raises "would achieve reasonable comparability to salaries paid both nationally and locally," he said.
Last year nonunion city employes received a 7 percent pay increase and the ceiling for top employes was raised by $3,683.
At the DS15 level, generally division and bureau chiefs within departments, the amount of the proposed raise would depend upon an employe's step level. Steps at all grades go from one to 10 and are largely a function of time of service.
If the cap is lifted as high as the mayor has requested, it would apply to officials at the level of DS15, step 9 and above. The ceiling now applies to DS15, step 7 and above. The 6 percent increase at that level amounts to $3,371 a year.
At the lowest District Service level, the 6 percent raise would amount to $517 a year, from the current $8,605 to $9,122.
Donald MacIntyre, national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the largest group of unionized city workers, said that the proposed raises for nonunion employes appeared justified on the basis that government workers generally are underpaid. MacIntyre in the past has been critical of larger raises for high-salaried workers.