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Any person appointed, employed or paid as an employee in any position under this ordinance shall be paid at step one of the salary plan provided that the Human Resources Director may approve a salary at a higher step. The hiring of any person at other than step one may be permitted due to exceptional qualifications, general labor market conditions or the lack of qualified persons willing to accept employment at the lower step rate salary. Any Department Head seeking to pay a salary higher than step one shall submit a written request for approval to the Human Resources Director. The Human Resources Director shall approve or deny this request in writing. No person may be paid at higher than step one without the written approval of the Human Resources Director.