Workers union criticizes Roseburg city manager's wage increase

Roseburg City Hall, December 26, 2017. (SBG)

ROSEBURG, Ore. – A pay raise for Roseburg’s city manager is being criticized by a workers union.

When the Roseburg City Council gave City Manager Lance Colley a four percent salary increase, the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Union Local 659 wasn't too happy.

"Our members were very upset that the city manager is receiving a higher wage increase than he said he could afford to give any of its members," said IBEW Local 659 Assistant Business Manager Jeffery Brown.

The union says they negotiated a two percent wage increase with the City.

The City says there's a rule in place that keeps the city manager's wage as competitive as possible.

"Whoever is the highest paid assistant, Lance (Colley) will always be 10 percent higher,” says Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich. “It has nothing to do with the employees getting two percent. What it has to do with is that, in his contract, whatever this number is, Lance will be 10 percent higher."

We reached out to City Manager Lance Colley for comment and he replied via email:

The City of Roseburg Council and Administration have great respect for each and every employee who works for the City. Many of our employees are subject to collective bargaining agreements (like IBEW) and many are not. Each individual’s compensation is based on an approved pay scale. IBEW recently approved a three-year collective bargaining agreement in which its employees received cost of living adjustments of 2% and may be eligible for associated pay increases based on merit. There are two other collective bargaining groups as well as many non-represented employees who are subject to our personnel policies and not represented through collective bargaining. Two employees, the Municipal Judge and the City Manager work directly for Council and must have their compensation approved annually.

But the union says the city manager should have not taken the wage increase.

"As a leader, we don't think he should have accepted that wage increase--the full wage increase--even if it was offered," said IBEW’s Brown.

The union says it's working on rebuilding their relationship with the City and its members and the City says they are open for discussion.

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