Mayor, board part of 5% pay raises

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 10, 2001

Brookhaven aldermen plan to include themselves and other electedofficials in a plan to provide 5 percent pay raises for cityemployees, according to a discussion during Thursday’s budget worksession.

One alderman, though, voiced his opposition to pay raise plansfor the mayor and aldermen.

“I’m voting against our 5 percent raise,” said Ward 4 AldermanBob Massengill.

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Aldermen are set to approve the new year budget at specialmeeting Wednesday.

For officials re-elected earlier this year, the pay raise wouldbe the third in five years. The 5 percent raises would boost analderman’s salary from the current $12,960 a year to $13,608 whilethe mayor’s pay would go from $51,840 to $54,432.

Referring to a 66 percent alderman pay jump in the first year ofthe last administration, which was the first in a number of yearsthen, Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates indicated that large “lump” payraises stir public ire. He suggested that smaller percentage raisesyearly or every other year are preferable.

Massengill, who has just started his first term, said he waskeeping a campaign commitment to not vote for a pay raise foraldermen or the mayor.

“If you stay in office 20 years and it (an alderman’s salary)didn’t go up, you’d be the lowest paid in the United States,” Batesresponded.

Massengill later said he was not opposed to other electedofficials, the city clerk, city tax collector and chief of police,getting pay raises. City Clerk Iris Rudman said Massengill couldmake his objection of the mayor and alderman pay raises known atthe special meeting to approve the budget.

In other pay raise related discussion, Bates again mentioned thepossibility of raising city employee starting pay. In a previouswork session, he suggested an increase to $7 an hour.

Rudman cautioned that funding would not allow the increase,which would also affect current city employees making less thanthat now. She said property tax revenue expectations had beenlowered as much as possible and more salary adjustments would leadto citizens paying more in property taxes.

“And they’re not going to be happy,” Rudman said.

Other officials pointed out that current employees would begetting the benefit of the 5 percent pay raises plus healthinsurance coverage benefits. City premiums for employee healthinsurance are slated for an approximately 21 percent increase nextyear.

During an earlier discussion on recreation department funding,Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson again questioned theamount of money the city gives in support appropriations forvarious organizations. He cited morale concerns in touting the needfor pay raises.

“Take care of our own first,” Wilson said.