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AG says another vote needed for pay raises

Brookhaven aldermen have set aside money for 5 percent payraises for themselves and other city employees, but a separate voteis expected Tuesday to make the higher salary totals effective.

The pay raises would boost an alderman’s pay from $12,960 to$13,608 a year while the mayor’s salary would go from $51,840 to$54,432. Elected official department heads, like appointeddepartment heads, are also included in pay raise plans for cityemployees.

Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill and Alderman-at-large LesBumgarner noted their objections to the higher alderman salarieswhen the new year budget was unanimously approved Wednesday duringa special meeting. Massengill and Bumgarner will not receive thesalary increases.

“I just can’t vote myself a pay raise after being office justtwo months,” Bumgarner said.

In years past, when questions have been raised about pay raiseprocedures, aldermen have had separate votes on the salary issue.Wednesday, however, at the mayor’s request, they chose to giveblanket approval to the new budget and new salaries.

Alice Wise, special assistant attorney general, indicated thatincluding higher salary totals in budget approval wasinsufficient.

“That’s simply making money available for a certain purpose…,”Wise said. “They need to make clear in the minutes exactly what thesalaries are.”

For clarification, City Clerk Iris Rudman said she will preparea list of salaries for all city employees, showing their currentsalaries and the new salaries with the 5 percent raises. She saidaldermen could then vote to spread those totals on the board’sminutes.

“I think that’ll past that muster,” Rudman said.

For aldermen re-elected earlier this year, the pay raises wouldbe the third in five years. In the first year of the last four-yearterm, aldermen authorized 66 percent raises for themselves and alsotook 8 percent raises in the third year of the term.

In the past, aldermen have said smaller percentage raises yearlyor every other year help keep salaries in line and avoid publicdissatisfaction over larger “lump” sum increases.