Columbus considers COVID-19 bonuses for some workers

Columbus City Council approved a plan last night on how to allocate $4.3 million dollars in federal money for COVID-19 relief. But not before efforts from some council members to set aside some of the money for bonuses to city workers who continued to work in person during the worst of the pandemic.

Mary Ferdon, director of administration for the city, outlined the plan to allocate $2.2 million for the response to the public health emergency, $1.1 million to replace lost or reduced revenue and $1 million for water and sewer infrastructure.

But Councilwoman Elaine Hilber suggested that the city should first pay hazardous pay bonuses of $1,000 each for some city workers. She ultimately offered a plan to set aside $400,000 of the funding for the bonuses, which would go to employees who came into work rather than who worked remotely.

Despite getting the support of fellow Democrats Jerone Wood and Grace Kestler, Hilber’s measure failed to get a majority of votes from the Council.

The three then voted to oppose the allocation measure, which ultimately passed 4-3.