CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said the city would have a contingency plan in place just in case state lawmakers don’t change the new minimum wage law when it comes to overtime.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the bill into law Tuesday that will raise the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $8.00 Jan. 2015 and then to $8.75 in 2016. But the governor promised a special session in May to deal with overtime exemptions. The language in the new law eliminates the federal exemptions that employers across West Virginia currently operate under.
Jones said the law in its current form would cost Charleston $700,000 a year in overtime. He said the city must make contingency plans.
“We don’t anticipate them (the governor, House speaker and Senate president) not keeping their word but we have to brace ourselves for the worst,” Jones said.
The contingency plan will include reducing the 24-hour shifts of firefighters to 12-hours along with closing some fire stations totally and others partially.
Mayor Jones said they can’t take a chance because anything can happen with the legislature.
“The speaker, the president and the governor, do they speak for all of the membership up there? We’ll just have to wait and see,” Jones said. “Hopefully they can pull this off and it will be done in a matter of hours.”
The mayor added this is real money.
“We don’t have 700-thousand dollars. We don’t have 7-thousand dollars,” he said. “So we just have to brace ourselves for the worst on this.”
The new law won’t take effect until June 8 and Gov. Tomblin has promised the special session for May 19.