MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Talk of a huge pay increase for Mobile's mayor is shaking up the city council.
City Councilman John Williams is proposing to more than double the mayor's pay, which is currently $89,000 to $200,000 a year.
Fellow Councilman William Carroll was shocked to read the proposal.
"Wow, just wow," Carroll said.
That is a reaction shared with a lot of folks. Williams said that was part of the plan. He wanted to spark discussion.
Williams said, "$200,000 is a number I put on the agenda. The real issue is we must discuss it. We must do so publically. We must determine what that position is going to be called to do, and it needs to be adequately compensated."
Williams said the actual number lies somewhere between $0 and $200,000. The goal is to figure out where.
Carroll said the current pay is not up to par with cities of Mobile's size.
"To be perfectly honest, our mayor makes subsequently less than a lot of mayors of this type of municipalities," Carroll said.
Williams said this is not just about a pay raise; it is about the position.
"The position of mayor is grossly inadequate," Williams said.
Williams said he wants to start a discussion about the capacity of mayor. He said as the city grows, Mobile needs a CEO; and to get it the city has to pay.
"That chief executive officer to be a recruiter to be an economic developer to be an administrator of one of the most important cities on the Gulf Coast," said Williams.
Statement from Mayor Sam Jones:
"The item on the agenda came as a complete surprise to me. I have had no discussion with anyone concerning this matter. You would think he would have consulted with the person who would benefit from this action," said Mayor Jones. "This is not the time for any proposal to raise the salary of any elected officials in the city. We should first consider our employees, who are on the front line, providing services to citizens daily. Also, any salary increase should be on a wage comparability that is similar to other cities of our size in Alabama. This proposal does not consider wage comparability or the city's current financial condition. I am not a co-sponsor or a supporter of this agenda item."
So where would this money come from?
"If we receive a person that can move us in the right direction that can find the efficiencies and establish priorities than we will have savings for that and give everyone that remains a raise," said Williams.
Councilmember Bess Rich said no to the proposal and so does Carroll.
"We've got 2,500 employees that haven't seen a raise in over six years. I think we need to start where the rubber meets the road," said Carroll.
It's not that the mayor doesn't deserve a raise according to Carroll, it's just not the time.
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