Satya Rhodes-Conway 030422 15-05092022165337 (copy) (copy)

In a new proposal from Mayor Rhodes-Conway, city of Madison employees could get a one-time payment in recognition of the good work done over the course of the pandemic, if approved by City Council.

City of Madison employees could get a one-time payment in recognition of their work over the course of the pandemic and to help deal with short-term inflation costs, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced Wednesday.

Thanks to a surplus in the city’s premium stabilization fund for employee life insurance and disability programs, the “unusual” extra funds provide an opportunity to use the excess to benefit employees when they need it most, according to Rhodes-Conway.

“I am grateful for the hard work, long hours and deep commitment to our community that our employees show,” the Mayor said. “It’s nice that we can find a way to recognize them without burdening our taxpayers.”

The stabilization fund is made up of contributions by the city and city employees. If approved by City Council, city employees — barring elected officials — could get up to $1,000 by the end of February 2023. All full-time employees would get the full $1,000 while part-timers would receive a prorated sum, according to the Mayor’s office. The payment would go to almost 2,900 employees.

The one-time payment will be wrapped into the 2023 operating budget proposal, which will come out in October. 

It remains to be seen the proposal will pass in City Council; the Dane County Board of Supervisors rejected a similar proposal from County Executive Joe Parisi in May to give county employees a one-time, $1,000 payment to combat inflation.

Council President Keith Furman is optimistic about the city’s plan, though.

“I’m excited the city was able to figure out a way to give bonuses to our incredible employees,” Furman said. “I look forward to supporting this payment when it comes in front of the Council early next year.”

Rhodes-Conway said she is happy to show staff appreciation for employees' hard work in the context of final union negotiations with the Madison Professional Police Officers Association.

The one-time payment would be part of a tentative contract agreement with the police officers' union that calls for a 1.5% pay increase in 2022 and 2% increase in 2023. The contract also requests a 3% bump in both 2024 and 2025.

“City staff have worked hard over the past two and a half years,” Rhodes-Conway said, “going the extra mile to deliver top-notch services during a pandemic, even though many departments face staffing and revenue shortfalls.”

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.