Fort Wayne City Council votes down hazard pay measure

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne’s City Council has voted down a resolution that would have provided city employees with hazard pay for a second time.

Council voted along party lines against the non-binding resolution to give hazard pay to city employees who work “in harm’s way” during the coronavirus outbreak. The five Republican councilmembers voted against the measure, while four Democrats voted for it.

It was May 12 when the council first considered the proposal to give certain city workers a pay increase of $2.50 an hour. Among those workers: Street Department and Public Works workers, Neighborhood Code Compliance officers and Animal Care & Control officers, Parking Control officers and Parks employees.

Resolution author Michelle Chambers argued in the measure that such essential workers “are at high risk for coming into contact with residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19 because of the nature of their work outside of city-owned buildings,” the resolution reads. “These hazards are not included in the employee job  descriptions and therefore a supplemental payment is appropriate.”

Amendments to the measure were approved later that included providing city employee-specific COVID-19 testing sites and only using federal funds like the CARES Act for the added pay.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has $300 million from the CARES Act to disperse throughout the state, which included $8.7 million for Fort Wayne.

The act requires that funds be used for employees that are directly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated City Council tabled the resolution. That is incorrect. WANE 15 regrets this error.

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