Board does it again with pay raise plan

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 7, 2002

Former President Ronald Reagan might have summed it up like this… “Well, there they go again…”

‘They’ in this case refers to the Brookhaven mayor and board ofaldermen, who included themselves in the 3 percent pay raises givento the city’s full-time employees last week.

The action came after weeks of budget cutting, which includedlaying off seven workers in the city’s solid waste department.

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Technically, the $189,000 used to finance the salary increaseswas not part of the new budget. It is unexpected revenue found atthe end of fiscal year 2002. While there was some debate Tuesdaynight on whether or not the funds were “one time money,” the boardwent ahead and approved the pay increases despite the possibilityof having to raise taxes next year.

We would not argue that the city’s full-time employees areworthy of pay raises. As Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron saidTuesday, “We ask them to do some tough jobs, and they’re doing agood job for the city.”

But, we would argue that the action taken at this particulartime shows less than good fiscal responsibility by the board.

We do question whether the mayor and the seven board of aldermenare actually full-time city employees. Also, we can’t help butwonder why the fact that elected officials would be getting the payraises was not mentioned during the discussion at Tuesday’s boardmeeting.

We do question whether or not the city’s elected officialsshould be getting their fourth pay increase in five years.

In those five years, the mayor’s salary has gone from $39,600 ayear to an estimated $56,064. That’s a 43 percent increase.

Aldermen’s salaries have jumped from $7,200 to an estimated$14,016. That’s a 95 percent increase!

Yes, the raises were voted on by two different city boards.That’s beside the point.

Candidates for alderman and mayor — and other elected positions– know what the salaries for the jobs are when they decide to seekelection. We’ve said it before, and now we’re saying it again:

Incumbents should not raise their own pay.