FREMONT- The Fremont City Council held a special meeting on March 24, 2020, to discuss the proposed COVID-19 compensation plan for hourly employees. All council members were present either in the chamber or through the telecommunication software Zoom. Council members were set up 6 feet apart from one another for safety.
The COVID-19 compensation plan included a proposal for all hourly personnel that would raise their hourly pay 2.5x their normal pay. City Administrator Brian Newton explained the purpose for this premium pay was to say,
“Thank you to city personnel who are going to leave the safety of their homes to put themselves in harm’s way and have possible exposure to the virus. This will give personnel extra incentive and it says thank you for leaving your family and coming in to make sure we can keep these essential services and the government functioning.”
The COVID-19 compensation plan will only go into effect if Fremont is changed from a precautionary Level 2 to a Level 3 (avoiding nonessential travel). Two hundred sixty-eight hourly employees work for the city and will be receiving this premium pay. Of these two hundred sixty-eight employees, one hundred forty work for the city and one hundred twenty-eight work in the utility department.
The report stated the fiscal impact of this expense will be unbudgeted and difficult to estimate, but absolutely necessary. City Councilmember Mike Kuhns commented that “In times of crisis you can’t always go to the instruction manual.”
The measure passed 8-0. Other matters discussed in the meeting were the consideration of a temporary suspension of the Public Comment Period during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure passed 6-2.