Monday, February 11, 2013
Town Council took the first step Monday toward increasing the mayor's pay, voting to ask the town attorney to draft a resolution to pay the mayor up to $50,000 on top of his $15,000 salary.
The decision isn't final, and it wasn't unanimous.
Councilman Aaron Brown voted against the increase, citing the uncertainty and subjectivity around the process.
The mayor's pay should be set by council regardless of the person holding the office, he said.
“It should apply no matter who's mayor,” he said.
The proposed pay increase is subject to conditions – namely, that the mayor work full time fulfilling administrative duties and that council continues to authorize him to take on those extra duties.
If council approves the resolution, the pay increase would take effect after the November election.
The mayor wouldn't receive benefits, and the $50,000, or whichever figure is finally settled on, would be paid separately from the $15,000. Whether that would pose legal problems of dual office-holding is one of the things Town Attorney G.W. Parker will look at, Councilman Bill McIntosh said.
Councilman Walter Bailey said the resolution would increase the pay indefinitely, but council could revoke the pay increase at any time.
When council voted to give the mayor additional authority instead of hiring a new administrator, no one really knew how long the arrangement would last, McIntosh said.
“It appears for the time being we're going to keep that arrangement,” he said.
By not having an administrator, the town has been saving about $150,000 a year in salary and benefits.
Brown, however, said council is setting future councils up for problems, as they'll have to decide each mayor's pay and duties.
“It's childish to say, 'Oh, the other mayor was doing a better job than you so we're going to take back your pay,'” he said.
He credited Collins with taking charge of big-ticket items, but said the day-to-day administration of the town has been suffering.
If council were to hire someone to handle administration, it would expect candidates to have achieved a certain level of education and training, Brown said.
Councilman Bob Jackson voted in favor of having the town attorney draft a resolution, but he's not sure how he'll vote once it's written.
“I want to see how they write up the resolution, legally. I've got some concerns with the next mayor,” he said.
This change seems like something that should be made permanent policy, he said, yet he's not sure it's a change he wants to make.
On the other hand, he said, “I do think Bill has been doing extra work and some compensation for that is well-deserved.”
What the proper compensation would be, he's not sure, he said.