City Council voted 3-1 to adopt a proposal by City Manager Rob Mayes to grant the nine employees annual cost of living adjustments.
The decision did not come without extended discussion.
"Obviously I'm in a very precarious spot," Mayes said. "I want to advocate for my employees, but I've also got an obligation to keep the budget balanced. (The pay plan) isn't perfect but it's so much better than it was."
Under the adopted proposal, the nine employees will receive cost-of-living payments that match raises provided to other city employees. Ultimately, under the pay plan adopted by the city, which allows annual adjusments based on market rates, the ranges for those jobs are expected to catch up to the actual pay.
"It's not the employees' fault that for 15 years we didn't review the plan," Mayes said.
The employees capped out are Richard Weinstein, an
information services administrator; Melody Lemmons, a communications technician; Martin Mangnum, a police information systems technician lead; Donovan Garcia, parks maintenance worker; Ronnie Johns, parks maintenance worker; Chris Medina, parks maintenance worker; Jennifer Swilling, police crime scene investigator; Gary Rollstin, the electric utility's engineering construction manager and Sandra Eastep, a custodial supervisor.
The grandfathered payments will add $11,000 for all nine employees in the first year of implementation, and will decrease in coming years as the pay ranges catch up to their actual pay rates, Mayes said.
Councilman Jason Sandel suggested amending the proposal to include employees at the 99th percentile of their pay ranges as well.
"Those people are more likely than not either long-time employees, or those affected by the drops in pay range," he said.
His motion failed to generate council support.
But Sandel, and other city councilmembers seemed to agree that the grandfathering clause as proposed by Mayes was fair.
For Councilman Dan Darnell, the situation began with city mistakes dating back more than a decade.
"I see no problem making some exception for all nine (employees)," said City Councilman Dan Darnell before Tuesday evening's meeting. "Obviously we have this pay plan, but unless there's other information that comes up, I'm in favor of the exception."
Farmington's pay plan was dysfunctional for about 14 years before city council adopted a plan recommended by the Hay Group in August 2012, he said.
"If we would have had a functioning pay plan, they probably wouldn't have been capped out," Darnell said.