Wesson board wrong to raise own salaries

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 25, 2003

The Wesson Board of Aldermen voted themselves a $100 a month payraise last week. Officials said the raises are the first for boardmembers in 12 years, so in that aspect we cannot say the action wasnot warranted. (Yes, you hear a ‘but’ coming.)

But — as we have stated in the past when Brookhaven aldermenvoted salary adjustments for themselves — incumbents SHOULD NOTraise their own pay.

For the record, Wesson aldermen now make $400 per month. Thatincreases to $500 per month effective Oct. 1. The vote was 3-1,with Alderwoman Lura Greer voting against. Alderman John Welter Jr.was absent. The raise does not apply to newly-elected Mayor AltonShaw.

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The board’s action is already raising questions from the newConcerned Citizens Group, which was formed after the town raisedwater rates last year. Some in the group have maintained for monthsthat a water rate increase would lead to a pay increase.

The Wesson board meets again Sept. 2 for a budget hearing and ascheduled board meeting. They shouldn’t be surprised if they get anearful about the raises from the Concerned Citizens Group.

Candidates for alderman and mayor — and other elected positions– of any town know what the salaries for the jobs are when theydecide to seek election. If they choose to raise the pay for thosepositions, the salary increases should be delayed until the nextboard takes office.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the nation’s economy has wrestled withsome tough times. As many towns and cities have struggled to makeends meet, so have many citizens. Taxpayers certainly don’t needthe added expense of pay raises for current office holders.