Commissioners' salary reduction discontinued

Friday, July 2, 2010

If two commissioners voted differently at their monthly meeting this week, candidates running to become commissioners on Aug. 5 would be paid less than normal.

By a vote of 10-6, the Marshall County Commission declined to extend a self-imposed pay cut that ended yesterday. They cut their pay months ago to raise money for volunteer fire departments.

Now, faced with shrinking revenues because of the economy, some commissioners apparently felt it would be hypocritical to not extend their pay cut that was in effect only during the fiscal year July 1, 2009 through last month.

"We were asking the county employees or department directors to cut their budget," Commissioner Mickey King, chairman of the budget committee, said. "I never asked somebody to do something I wouldn't do."

With 18 county commissioners, each is paid one eighteenth (1/18th) of what the county mayor is paid. Commissioners are now paid $330.19 per month. Some planned to continue their $200 per month pay cut and accept only $130.19 per month.

Because the pay cut was adopted by a vote that had to exceed a two-thirds margin, the vote to override the deadline for a pay cut needed at least 12 votes on Monday.

The pay cuts totaled $43,200 per year and King noted that's approximately how much revenue is generated by one cent on the tax rate.

"I don't know if we should do something that will affect those who get elected" on Aug. 5, Commissioner E.W. Hill said. "I'm sure not running for the money. I don't know if this is a good thing."

Commissioner Mary Ann Neill offered another view.

"When we're gone, they'll have the opportunity to vote on it," Neill said.

Prior to the current method of payment for commissioners, they were paid $50 to attend commission meetings and $25 for committee meetings.

Voting no were Commissioners Hill, Seth Warf, Phil Willis, Wilford "Spider" Wentzel, Rocky Bowden, and Billy Spivey.

Voting yes were Commissioners King, Neill, Tony White, Jimmy Stitt, Larry McKnight, Richard Medley, Tony Williams, Scottie Poarch, Jimmy Wolaver and Don Ledford.

McKnight, Stitt, Poarch, Neill, Spivey and Medley are not running for re-election to the commission.

The decision to change the rate of pay required a two-thirds majority because it's a change to the rules of the commission.