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Council, mayor compensation plan reviewed
by Liz Marino
lmarino@neighbornewspapers.com
January 23, 2013 01:07 PM | 1343 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Douglasville City Council members last week discussed a proposal that could raise council members’ salaries and decrease the salary of the mayor

The discussion last Thursday night during a finance committee meeting was the follow-up to a resolution passed by the council Oct. 1 declaring the city council’s decision to change the method of compensation for the city of Douglasville’s elected officials from a per meeting basis to a monthly salary basis.

Any change would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Councilman Doug Lequire has been a strong proponent of acting quickly regarding the change, and brought his salary recommendation for council scrutiny.

Lequire’s proposal would reflect an 18 percent decrease in the mayor’s current salary, while providing a 34 to 62 percent salary increase to council members.

In 2012, the mayor received a $36,621 in compensation and $400 to cover monthly expenses.

Under Lequire’s plan, the mayor would receive $2,500 per month totaling a $30,000 annual salary and $200 per month for expenses, entailing a 50 percent cut.

Under his proposed plan, each of the seven council members would receive $1,200 per month compensation, with an additional $200 per month in expenses.

Each of the seven council members received an average pay of $9,696 in 2012.

Lequire defended his recommendation, stating that he had conferred with most of the other council members prior to submitting it to the finance committee.

“My objective is to get it done,” said Lequire.

Mark Adams, finance committee chairman, said he had a problem increasing the city council’s salary, while decreasing the mayor’s pay.

“I would lean much more toward reducing the amount of increase that we had because I for one did not come onto the council expecting a pay raise,” Adams said.

Mayor Pro Tem Larry Yockey noted that the city council had not had an increase in 14 years.

“Our intent is to give us a fair and equitable amount for the work we perform,” he said. “It looks crazy that we are giving ourselves an increase, but that is not our intent.”

Mayor Harvey Persons agreed that there is nothing wrong with being compensated for the work begin done by the mayor and council.

“We want to make sure we do our due diligence,” said Persons. “When we make a decision, we want to make it on facts and information gathering and then we make the decision.”

Upon determining a salary recommendation, the mayor and council will hold a public hearing.

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Sam Bean
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January 23, 2013
There is little question that paying the council and mayor on a per meeting basis is wrong and promotes less than ethical behavior. While many people do not realize it, the city has a full time city manager who is well compensated and is responsible for running the city on a day to day basis. The city managers staff does most of the staff work and places proposals before the mayor and council for voting. The mayor and council and clearly part time participants and for the most part simply vote on the propositions placed before them. They have four scheduled meetings a month which accounts for approximately 20 hours. Assume that they spend another 10 hours per month in additional activities which gives them a grand total of 30 hours per month. The current proposal in front if the council is $16,800 per year per council person. That yields about $47.00 per hour plus they get health benefits and retirement. The last item I saw in the Douglas Neighbor implied that last year the average council person earned $9700 per year. This is over a 60% increase in compensation. But the real question is what are they doing that is worth $47.00 an hours plus benefits? Annualized thats $96000 a year and this is not a highly skilled position. The citizens truly need to be aware of what is going on with their local government officials. These positions should be community service positions, not wealth enhancing career positions.

Sam Bean
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