The following were among actions taken at the March 1 meeting of the District of Columbia Council.
RETROACTIVE PAY -- The council approved emergency legislation that gives a $1 million pay raise to 263 high-ranking police officers, retroactive to Oct. 1. It also decided that upcoming raises due to other non-union employees including the council, its staff, department heads and supervisory employees be retroactive to Oct. 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.
Because these other pay plans have not yet been prepared, the total cost of the council's action is not known. But during Tuesday's discussion, council chairman David Clarke (D) estimated it at $13 million.
Under current law, raises approved by the council are effective Oct. 1 of the same calendar year. But Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. submitted the police pay raise proposal in January, rather than December as is usually done, requiring the council to take special action in order to make the raises retroactive to the October 1987 date.
Arguing to postpone consideration of retroactive pay, Council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) noted that the council has not studied the Mayor's fiscal 1989 budget plan or tax increase request, and has not received proposed contracts from the city's unions. Kane questioned whether the city has the funds to pay for the retroactive raises.
TRUCK COVERS -- The council passed legislation mandating covers on trucks moving in the District, unless the load is at least six inches below the top of the vehicle. The six-inch rule came in an amendment proposed by Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5). Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3), the bill's original sponsor, unsuccessfully appealed to the council to strengthen the amendment's language because, he said, loads can bounce and shift dramatically in transit.
The bill, carrying a fine of up to $500, goes to Mayor Barry for his signature.
Frank Smith (D-Ward 1), who supported Thomas' amendment, asserted his experience with trucks. "I went to my high school prom in a truck," Smith said. He also noted that wise truckers cover their loads with sheeting known as tarpaulin so that they do not spill their cargo.
"How much more fun would you have had after your prom if you did have a tarpaulin on the back of your truck?" queried Chairman David Clarke at the close of the debate, eliciting a loud wave of laughter in an otherwise-somber council meeting.