Minch proposes $600 pay hike for Berne workers

    Full-time municipal employees in Berne would receive a $600 across-the-board pay increase in 2012, pending city council's approval, according to a proposal announced Monday evening by Mayor John Minch. The pay raise equals approximately 1.55 percent for each employee.
    Minch made the recommendation to Berne City Council as city officials prepare to begin work on next year's operating budget. "I've done quite a bit of work on this," Minch said, noting he has working with clerk/treasurer Gwen Maller "to see what will fit our budget" in the current economic setting.
    The mayor's recommendation of a $600 pay hike for all employees also extends to one elected official. Minch said that because Maller works fulltime for the city, she should be included in the pay hike. The city's parking meter reader will receive a $200 increase in 2012 if council approves Minch's recommendation.
    The Indiana Code allows the city council to decrease the amount of the pay hike, but the panel cannot increase the mayor's figures. Minch proposed no pay increases for himself or members of the city council in 2012.
    Maller said the city once again this year will be putting together a lean operating budget that will have little room for additional expenditures. The mayor's proposed salary increase will cost the city approximately $14,000, Maller said.
    Last year the mayor proposed a $400 salary hike for members of council, but that pay increase was rejected by the council itself. Other municipal employees received a flat $400 stipend plus a 1 percent pay increase — the equivalent of a 2 percent raise — in 2011 after going without a raise the previous year.