OK, I am officially confused.
Did you read last week about the Waveland mayor and alderman giving themselves a raise?
No, it is not a joke.
When virtually everyone in the United States has done without a raise for the last 18 to 24 months, the Waveland Board of Aldermen has voted to increase salaries for the next four years for themselves and the mayor.
And by 20 percent!
(I don’t like to use explanation points much in columns, but I feel like the one I used in the above paragraph is needed … as well as the one in the paragraph below.)
They gave themselves raises of 20 percent!
According to the Associated Press, under the city’s special charter, Mayor David Garcia says that the board must set the salaries for themselves, the mayor and the city clerk at their first meeting.
The board and Garcia were elected Dec. 7 and were sworn in Dec. 8. They held their first meeting Dec. 9, but recessed until Dec. 13 without voting on the salary issue.
Garcia’s salary was raised from $60,000 to $72,000 annually. He was making $63,383 a year as fire chief.
Aldermen, paid $14,400 annually, will bring in $1,200 more a year.
Garcia said the board voted not to give a raise to City Clerk Lisa Planchard.
I called to ask why Mrs. Planchard was not included in the Waveland Raise Club. However, Mayor Garcia didn’t return my calls.
Must have been out Christmas shopping.
If you haven’t read Jack Elliott’s column on Page 25 of our upcoming print edition, let me give you a preview. You can read the rest after you finish mine.
Leaders of two of Mississippi’s most politically active associations of public officials are approaching the 2011 session with similar views – an election-year Legislature is no arena for new, expensive ideas.
“You can’t have a huge agenda during a year like this,” said Derrick Surrette, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, whose 410 members are also up for election in 2011.
Someone tell me when the recession ended. … Someone tell me when Gov. Haley Barbour stopped talking about the worst of the state’s economic woes are still to come.
How arrogant must you be to vote yourself a payraise during the worst recession in 80 years?
Hancock County has 9 percent unemployment, which, compared to the rest of the state, isn’t bad.
Still and yet, 9 percent of the people in Hancock County are unemployed. That is a lot.
The per capita income for Waveland is $16,413, and 13.7 percent of the population and 11.6 percent of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.6 percent of those under the age of 18 and 11.7 percent of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Granted, the salaries for the jobs of the mayor and the alderman are not a lot. However, when these folks ran for office, they knew what the salaries were.
Most of us, when we take a job, we also know what the salary is before we accept it. The difference between us and the Waveland leaders is that we don’t get to boost our salary once in the job just because we think we deserve it.
Hell, most folks deserve a raise, but don’t get it, particularly in these economic times.
The last time I remember a mayor voting himself a raise was in Indianola, Mississippi.
That was a couple of years ago.
Last year, the incumbent mayor was ousted by Steve Rosenthal, largely because voters believed they had been taken for granted.
So, I will say this.
Mayor Garcia and the Waveland Board of Alderman, you can figure out a way to make this salary issue right, or you can just wait until the next election, because the voters will do it for you.
Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1018.