Augusta warned about hazard pay not being reimbursed

CSRA News

Augusta,Ga (WJBF) Another pay period starting for Augusta and finance officials say over the next two weeks the city will spend about one point four million dollars on hazard pay but now a warning from Municipal Association about the way the city is doling out this pay.

The coronavirus has closed the Municipal Building to the public, but the workers going inside are receiving hazard pay, and for some commissioners that’s a concern.

“It’s an absolute concern especially if you don’t have any money coming in I’m not sure how we are going to handle it I hope the commission will re-think where we are,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Frantom.

Two weeks ago commissioners approved a five dollar an hour pay hike for essential employees, without clarifying who is essential, so the result is if you leave home and come to work even in an office closed to the public you are getting five dollars an hour hazard pay.

“I think we need to make sure that we are paying the essential people who are going to be exposed not just because you are out because you are coming in,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

After the city asked for advice the Georgia Municipal Association in an e-mail saying very unlikely that the city would qualify for reimbursement of hazard pay to employees who are or are able to work from home or able to work in highly controlled administrative environments.

“We’ve gotten some from the Georgia Municipal Association as well as ACCG that gave some better guidance we definitely need to take another look at who this hazard pay can and should go to,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.

“We can’t give away the coffers and have no money coming back in that’s just like having a bad 401k plan,” said Commissioner John Clarke

“I’m not sure how we’re going to handle it I hope that the commission we’ll re-think where we are at after these two pay periods and come up with a better solution that not only helps the employees but also the taxpayers,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Frantom.

Meanwhile commissioners are expected to discuss Mayor Davis plan to take 3 million dollars out of the General Fund for a Covid relief program helping non profits and small businesses In Augusta George Eskola WJBF

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