Town Council votes itself a raise

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The Smithfield Town Council will give itself a 10 percent raise.

The 5-1 vote came late in the evening, about 10 p.m. on Feb. 6, and after two closed sessions.

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The Council’s self-approved raise comes at the same time it is discussing its employee pay scale, which has not been given a hard look since 2008, according to Human Resources Director Ashley Rogers at a recent retreat. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The motion for a Council raise was made by exiting Vice Mayor Andrew Gregory and seconded by Council member Denise Tynes.

Milton Cook, who also announced he will not be running for reelection this year, was the only dissenting vote. Council member Randy Pack was absent during the Feb. 6 meeting.

According to the town code, council members receive $300 per month for their service, the vice mayor receiving $350 monthly and mayor $400 per month.

Effective July 1, council members will now be given an annual salary of $3,960 (up from $3,600). The vice mayor will earn $4,620 (up from $4,200) a year and the mayor will earn $5,280 (up from $4,800).

Prior to the vote, Council member Steve Bowman, who also announced he would be leaving the council, asked whether the motion would require a public hearing.

Town Attorney Bill Riddick said that it had been so long since the compensation was amended, he was not immediately sure if a public hearing was required, but said at the meeting that he did not believe it was because it is a budgetary item.

Public attendees at the Town Council meeting had cleared out prior to the late night decision by the council.

“We’re one of the lowest rates in the area,” said Tynes of compensation. “I think Windsor gets more than us.”

According to Windsor Town Treasurer Christy Jernigan, the annual salary for the mayor of Windsor is $2,400, while town council members receive $100 a month, or $1,200 total.

Smithfield town employees received a 5 percent across-the-board pay increase in the 2017 fiscal budget.

“You really want to go out in style, don’t you?” Cook said to Gregory following the motion Feb. 6.

The closed meetings following the public meeting were held by the Town Council to discuss disposition of real property and personnel matters.

Seven people have so far expressed interest in running for four seats up for grabs on the Smithfield Town Council this May, Mayor Carter Williams the only incumbent.  {/mprestriction}