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Harrisburg proposes “COVID-19” bonuses for essential workers

Harrisburg fire bureau responds to a recent call.

Harrisburg may show appreciation to its essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic with a proposed pay bonus.

At Tuesday’s City Council work session, Mayor Eric Papenfuse proposed designating about $800,000 in the city’s 2020 budget for “COVID-19” bonuses for frontline workers.

“As a city, we need to recognize the tireless work and commitment of all of our frontline responders throughout this health crisis,” Papenfuse said. “They had to be out there picking up the trash, cleaning the buildings and addressing city services.”

Each eligible worker will receive $2,500. The criteria for receiving the bonus is that the recipient had to come to work each day without an adjusted schedule or the option to telecommute, Papenfuse said.

He said that includes many American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union members. All Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) union members will receive the bonus, as will a few management-level positions.

“It’s important that we recognize the sacrifice and amazing service that we’ve seen from our employees,” Papenfuse said. “I don’t think residents saw a decline in city services even when that might’ve been possible and was certainly happening in other municipalities.”

Papenfuse said all eligible employees will receive the same bonus.

City council members generally expressed support for the “COVID-19” bonuses. The issue will be voted on at Tuesday’s legislative session.

“I think it is remarkable that our city employees were still able within good health to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic,” council member Danielle Bowers said.

To watch past Harrisburg City Council meetings, visit the city’s YouTube channel.

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