Should the City give extra money specifically to those who were guaranteed government employment through the pandemic?
Chattanooga, TN – The City of Chattanooga is receiving $2.5 million in CARES Act dollars, and they may give $1.7 million to City employees.
Chattanooga Chief Operating Officer Maura Sullivan said that the City wants to give an extra $400-500 dollars to City employees that have worked through the pandemic.
This bonus would specifically go to employees that were never unemployed and had a guaranteed position with the government.
The one-time bonus could also go to part-time employees ahead of Christmas.
“We propose to give a one-time supplement to employees of $500 for each employee who has worked through the pandemic, and a $400 supplement for all employees whose job allowed them to work from home, at any time during the pandemic,” said Maura Sullivan during a meeting with City Council members.
The proposal would give $500 to each employee who has worked through the pandemic and $400 to those who have worked from home.
Sean O’Brian, a Chattanooga Fraternal Order of Police board member, believes that a raise would be a great opportunity for police officers to have extra holiday money to spend.
“I can see a lot of my fellow employees the opportunity to, you know, to get some things for the holidays that they didn’t think they would otherwise be able to get, and, you know, spend it locally,” said O’Brien.
The City’s goal is to get the proposed bonus to employees by December 18th.
After giving extra money to employed City workers, the rest of the funded would be spent in the following manner:
- Tivoli Theatre – $225,000
- Forgotten Child Fund – $75,000
- Bessie Smith Cultural Center – $40,000
- United Way – $160,000
- Small Business Relief Fund Boost – $300,000
District 1 Councilman Chip Henderson stated “I have no problem with the bonuses that are going to our employees. I believe they need it. They are underpaid. We need to get them up to a livable wage.”
“But why would we not take this extra $800,000 and apply it to our out-of-pocket expenses?”
“We need a Fire Academy and I’ve been told there is not money for it. Here’s $800,000 that we’re going to give to well-deserving organizations but we have needs in our own house. I would think having a Fire Academy would be a top priority for this City so we don’t lose our ISO rating,” Henderson said.
“In terms of priorities, I just don’t think the United Way should have made the cut,” District 9 Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrood stated. “I don’t know if we can use that money in a different way.”
The Chattanooga City Council will hold a public hearing on December 1st at 6pm, then the proposal will have its first reading on December 8th and then a final vote on December 15th.