In a 4-2 vote, a resolution failed which would have presented compensation numbers for residents to digest prior to a public hearing on April 11. A vote was planned on the matter April 15.
Opposing the resolution were council members Doug Lequire, LaShun Burr-Danley, Samuel Davis and Mayor Pro Tem Larry Yockey. Council members Mark Adams and Dennis McLain voted in favor of the resolution.
Admittedly “agreeing to disagree” on what their compensation should be, it appeared the city council had finally developed a plan that everyone could live with at last Thursday’s finance committee meeting.
The proposed resolution would have given the mayor a $3,300 per month salary, along with use of a city-owned vehicle and gas. The council would have received $1,000 in salary per month.
Based on figures submitted by Yockey during Monday night’s finance committee meeting, the average council salary for 2012 was $11,496. At a proposed $12,000 per year, all council members would receive a nominal increase, with the exception of Yockey, who would take a $550 per year cut.
Things became heated Monday night when council members disagreed on whether they should be compensated additionally for training and out-of-town travel.
There was also more discussion from previous meetings on how much Mayor Harvey Persons should be compensated in a part-time position. Yockey countered Thursday night’s plan to pay the mayor $3,300 per month, or $39,600 per year, by reducing the amount to $3,000 per month or $36,000 per year.
Finance Committee Chairman Mark Adams defended the mayor, stating, “I am not in favor of anyone getting a raise nor am I in favor of fixing what the grand jury told us to do by cutting the mayor’s pay.”
A grand jury in 2012 reportedly voiced concerns about payments made to the mayor and council on a per-meeting basis.
Former longtime mayor Mickey Thompson pleaded guilty in December to taking 91 payments for meetings not allowed under city code.
Lequire said, “No one wants to take shots at the mayor about his pay. It looks like we took the mayor on and we don’t want to give the image that the mayor did something wrong.”
Yockey presented data showing mayoral salaries in Douglasville for the past 15 years.
It showed that a part-time mayor in 1998 made $26,918 per year.
By 2006, the part-time mayor made $24,414 annually.
However, the salaries for the part time mayor began to increase dramatically once the mayor retired from his regular occupation, according to records.
The mayor’s salary increased to $42,881 in 2009 and as high as $47,263 in 2010, according to Yockey.
Persons, in his first year in office, made $36,621 in 2012.