Difficult decisions loomed over the Ely City Council as it held a special meeting last week to take action on reducing wages for salaried employees, and adjusting business hours for the City landfill and City of Ely office.
City Treasurer Janette Trask explained the loss of revenues, and how all other efforts were exhausted before it came to reducing hours and
wages for city employees. Mayor Nathan Robertson read a statement at the beginning of the meeting explained how he was following Gov. Steve Sisolaks executive order. “Given our small department and general staffing model, which is usually quite low, and protecting our employees was paramount it seems as such conducting business by mail, phone and the internet for city business was the best choice.
While May 31st, seems drastic, it coincides with the plan of state leaders. ”Robertson also indicated if the situation changed and opening earlier seems advisable, then he was open to that.
“I am all for opening any and all  businesses as soon as we can safely allowed to do so,” he said. “I was glad to see last night the governor was lifting some of the restrictions on our businesses, I am not interested in getting into a turf battle with the state, I don’t presume to speak for the coun-cil members in that necessarily, but that’s just my thought.” Robertson said.
Many of the agenda items were to discuss union contract, reduction in wages and hours for staff. Councilwoman Michelle Beecher asked when it would be appropriate to staff going back to regular full-time hours. Trask answered explaining how they would have to go on a month-to-month basis.
“I don’t have any magic formulas, once we can handle the outflow of money, general fund, ending fund
balance,” Trask said. “It’s all hinged on what we will face due to lack of
revenue.” It is projected that there could be a loss in $150,000 in CTX revenues.
Trask said, “Over a 10 percent decrease for the whole year, in just four months worth, and we don’t know
how long it’s going to be going into the next year.” Councilman Kurt Carson thanked Trask for all of her efforts and indicated that these were tough times. “I wish there was more money there, honestly I have been on union negotiations for 4-5 years, and I was hoping to go to the table this year and get these guys a raise, which they need, and deserve, and this happened.”
Trask reminded the staff that the S&S lawsuit did not help the city’s situations, they are budgeting for it. “I want my wages back sooner than
later which make a great incentive for me to stay on top of this.” Councilman Ed Spear abstained since he has a relationship with one of the city hall staff employees. Councilman Ernie Flangas hoped this would be short term, all expressing discomfort making the motion to ap-prove the reductions in wages and hours. City employees who are paid hourly will get five hours without pay a week, a reduced service credit on
their PERS and salaried employees will get a reduction in pay but get a full credit of on their PERS. Balanc ing it out to all staff, taking a 12.5  per-
cent reduction.
All departments within the city have agreed to stagger employees hours so the city will operate busi-
ness as usual.
Spear asked that his monthly pay as councilman be given back to the city. Robertson said, “The unknowns in this scenario are a lot. It’s like we
all jumped off a cliff and we don’t know where the bottom is. We may be pleasantly surprised, and it’s not as bad as the state and everybody is
projecting, and the intent is to roll these cuts back as soon as humanly possible. But we are hoping by acting proactively that we save jobs in the
long run.”