After years without increases in pay, city employees who are not represented by unions are getting raises and cost-of-living adjustments that average 3.4 percent.

After years without increases in pay, city employees who are not represented by unions are getting raises and cost-of-living adjustments that average 3.4 percent.

Ashland City Councilors approved the increases earlier this week.

City department heads have received no cost-of-living adjustments, known as COLAs, or pay raises since 2008, said Human Resources Director Tina Gray.

The city of Ashland laid off workers and tightened its belt regarding pay increases in the wake of the Great Recession and subsequent economic slowdown.

Some unionized workers have received COLAs during that time. Others agreed to forego COLA increases, even though they had pre-existing multi-year contracts that authorized the extra pay.

This fiscal year, city workers in an electrical workers' union will receive a 2.5 percent increase while employees in a laborers' union will receive a 2 percent increase.

City managers are in the midst of negotiations with three unions that represent police officers, firefighters and clerical/technical workers.

City Administrator Dave Kanner said he will be satisfied if those three unions will agree to increases of 2 percent.

Kanner is receiving an increase of less than 2 percent under the recent increases for non-unionized workers approved by the City Council, Gray said.

Kanner told councilors he didn't feel comfortable taking a larger increase because he has been on the job in Ashland for only five months.

— Vickie Aldous