Jefferson Parish Workers Could Get Pay Raises From Spill

GRETNA, LA (AP) — Jefferson Parish government employees could be set to receive a 5 percent pay raise thanks to the recent oil spill settlement with BP.

         The Parish Council introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would give 5 percent pay raises to almost all Jefferson government employees, retroactive to the beginning of this year, The New Orleans Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas reports.

         The ordinance, proposed by Councilman Ben Zahn, will be voted on in a few weeks, but it seems likely to pass because council members voted unanimously to approve a symbolic resolution authorizing administrators to go ahead with the raises. The resolution was proposed by at-large councilman Elton Lagasse.

         "There are many hardworking and dedicated employees who serve the public every day in Jefferson," said Lagasse, who is running for parish president in the Oct. 24 primary. "Unfortunately, tough financial times in recent years have made it difficult to provide our employees with meaningful pay raises."

         The pay bump is made possible by the $45 million that the parish is receiving in a settlement over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

         The Jefferson Parish School Board, which also is getting money from BP, decided to use $4.2 million of its $24.5 million windfall for one-time bonuses of $500 and $600 for teachers and support staff. The rest of the School Board's settlement money is being set aside for long-term retirement costs and savings.

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