PITTSFIELD -- The City Council has confirmed Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi's choice for director of cultural development and approved a 5 percent pay raise for 25 nonunion city workers.
Jennifer Glockner, who previously served in the Cultural Development office as coordinator of tourism efforts, was unanimously approved without debate by councilors. She was chosen by a search committee and nominated by the mayor to replace Megan Whilden, who left last month to become director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College.
The pay raises were for 25 employees in city government who are not represented by unions and have not received a pay increase in five years.
The raises had been included in a new salary schedule submitted by Bianchi that included raises for department heads and managers. The two categories were separated at the request of the council's Ordinance and Rules Committee, which is still reviewing the proposed raises for department heads and is expected to make a recommendation at a future council meeting.
The nonunion worker raises were not approved unanimously, in part become of some opposition to the fact they are retroactive to the beginning of the current fiscal year, July 1, 2013. The funding for the raises is in the current city budget.
City Personnel Director John DeAngelo confirmed the total cost for the raises will be $43,320.
The council voted 9-2, with at large Council Churchill Cotton and Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi opposed, to allow the raises. Cotton said he was against retroactive pay raises, and Morandi said he has heard from many constituents who have not had raises in recent years.
"I certainly will listen to what they have to say," Morandi said.
Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop said many government employee raises are given retroactively because of delays while other groups of employees settle contracts or otherwise negotiate raises. "This is not unusual in government," he said, adding that the group of employees still would not have received as much of a raise as most other city workers in recent years.
Speaking in favor of Glockner for the cultural development post prior to the council vote, Andrew Kelly, the city's Cultural Development board chairman, said, "I am sure she will represent Pittsfield very well and very professionally."
Glockner, who most recently was tourism program coordinator in the city department, has worked with the visitors center, RSVP, DiscoverPittsfield.com, the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts and the Berkshire Visitors Bureau.
She also has worked for the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, as a public relations director for Winstanley Associates and for The Berkshire Eagle advertising department. She is a volunteer and officer for various local charitable enterprises.
To reach Jim Therrien:
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_therrien