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City Council approves pandemic bonus for Fort Wayne employees

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Rebecca Green/WBOI News

Fort Wayne City Council was nearly unanimous in its approval of one-time pandemic bonuses for city employees Tuesday night.

The decision to offer bonuses through the American Rescue Plan had already been previously approved by the body. But a stipulation in those federal dollars requires any bonus pay cannot be a set amount and needs to be based on an employee’s hours worked, which the city did not have accurate documentation of.

Council approved the bonuses out of the city’s General Fund instead on a 7-1 vote.

At-large Democrat Michelle Chambers lobbied the city administration for some kind of bonus pay for employees during the pandemic, and she was grateful it found a way to make that happen.

“We are an excellently-run city," said Chambers. "We have come through a pandemic on the better side of it and that’s because as a city, we have excellent employees that showed up even when we weren’t showing up and Zooming.”

Fourth District Republican Jason Arp was the only dissenting vote; he did not agree with the idea of bonus pay coming from taxpayers.

The city will disperse $1,000 checks to full-time city employees, while part-timers will take home $500 under the agreement.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered. He currently hosts Morning Edition.