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 billĀ 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.


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  • wvman75

    I think raising the minimum wage is a bad idea right now, but if they're going to do so, then change the overtime laws as well. People such as convenient store managers and others in the private sector should be fully compensated for the hours they work. An exception could be made for public safety/government workers like police and firefighters.

    • Wowbagger

      So you think that public employees are less deserving than public sector employees?

  • The bookman

    You mean it is actually possible these exemptions would not be restored, that people could actually suffer a loss of public services due to the inability of the legislature to come to terms on the special session? Shocking news!