The City Council approved a 22% raise for itself, the city clerk and the city treasurer Tuesday night at a sparsely attended meeting.
In a 3-2 vote, council members gave Mayor Edward Vincent $1,616 a month--a boost of $286. Other members will receive $808, up from $665.
City Clerk Hermanita V. Harris will take home $1,616 for her elected office, and City Treasurer Wanda Brown will get $404.
The last time elected officials were given a raise was in 1991, according to city documents. Council, clerk and treasurer positions are part time, Harris said. In addition to part-time duties as an elected official, the clerk is a full-time employee and receives a separate salary of $3,658 a month.
Vincent and council members Curren D. Price Jr. and Garland Hardeman voted for the raise. Council members Judith L. Dunlap and Jose Fernandez voted against it.
Vincent defended giving the council a pay increase. "This job really isn't a part-time job," he said. "It starts early in the morning and ends late at night."
But Dunlap said giving raises to elected officials sends the wrong message.
"It's a matter of showing leadership by setting an example. We should be watchdogs in protecting the interests of the taxpayer," she said. Dunlap said she will not accept the extra money when the raises become effective after city elections in April.
The council also voted 4 to 1 to give rank-and-file employees and the Fire Department's battalion chiefs a 4% pay boost. Dunlap cast the dissenting vote.