Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Questions about the Aldermen Raises

On June 27, the Board of Aldermen voted themselves a raise. Here is the exact wording from the Minutes.
Alderman Massey asked that a motion be made to suspend the rules to make changes to an ordinance. A motion was made by Alderman West and seconded by Alderman Massey to suspend the rules to make changes to an ordinance. The motion carried unanimously. Alderman Massey noted that it has been ten (10) years since there was a change in the salary of the Board of Aldermen. A motion was made by Alderman Massey and seconded by Alderman West to change the salary of the Alderman to $22,300 effective July 1, 2006. The motion carried with the vote being as follows: Arceneaux-Mathis=Yes, Gray = No, Pollard=No, West=Yes, Massey=Yes, Middleton=No. The vote was tied 3-3. Mayor West voted yes to break the tie.
Three hypocrites: Gray, Pollard, and Middleton think they're off the hook because they voted against the increase. Don't let them get away with it. They voted to suspend the rules which allowed this vote, and they are just as responsible as the others. If they really cared about the city, its citizens, and its employees, they should have voted against the suspension of the rules. At least the other three were honest in their greediness. It's pretty obvious that a deal was worked out on who would vote which way.

Is It Legal? Probably not. Here's a copy of an email I sent to the Mayor on July 11.

As you know, the Board voted to give itself a raise retroactive to the beginning of the year. It appears to me that action violates the City's code, as follows:

Part I. Charter
Sec. 23. Salaries of officers

The mayor and all subordinate officers of said city shall, for their services, respectively, receive a just compensation by annual salary or otherwise, payable out of the revenue of said city, to be established and regulated by ordinance of said mayor and aldermen in council; and the aldermen shall receive such compensation as shall be so established, out of said revenues; but, there shall be no increase of the compensation of aldermen to take effect during the year in which it is made.

Part II Code
Chapter 2 Administration
Article II Mayor and Board of Aldermen
Division II Rules of Procedure
Sec. 2-85.
Salary increases (Rule 49).

Other than at the time of the adoption of the budget for the succeeding year, no salary raises shall be made without first referring same to the finance committee to be sure that funds are provided for this purpose in the budget and approved by the board at two successive regular meetings. This rule shall not be subject to suspension as in rule 50.

Would you please refer this to the City Attorney and ask him to respond?

First, I sent this before I had been allowed to see a copy of the Minutes. The public is not allowed to see the Minutes until they've been approved at the following meeting. So you have to wait at least a half month before seeing what actually happened at a meeting. I tried to get a copy at the July 11 meeting, but no one could seem to find a copy (!), so I wrote the letter based on what I thought I had heard or been told. A couple of days later, I was able to get a copy of the Minutes. It turns out that the raises were not retroactive, according to what's in the Minutes.

But everything else is absolutely right. I have quoted directly from the City Code and cited the appropriate sections. By the way, the city's fiscal year starts on October 1, and the calendar year starts on January 1. No matter which type of year you choose, July 1 is not appropriate.

Surprise! Surprise! I have not heard from the City Attorney. The Board did not meet on July 25 as scheduled. They will meet again On Tuesday, August 8 at 11 am. I intend to ask to be on the calendar to discuss this issue, and I would appreciate your being there to support me.

PS I sent a copy of my letter to the Natchez Democrat, and the reporter was looking into it, but there has been no article yet.

Casey Ann Hughes


Crazy Natchezian said...

If you want to post a comment here, you don't have to use your real name. That's the beauty of a blog.

sayitaintso said...

We're all in this together; politically, socially, neighborly, economically . . . and we all can't get enough info about Natchez. Good work and keep coming.

purdykitty said...

I am thrilled about this blog, however I must get used to using it. I cna't be at the meeting tomorrow but will await your update.

sayitaintso said...

Who has thoughts about the skyrocketing real estate prices? Lil ol Natchez has something going on . . . I feel the groundswell. But, what might it be? Could Katrina have done this?

gritsisit said...

I wish our leaders would address the educational inadequacies in Natchez. When this was brought up at a city council meeting last year, I heard Joyce Arceneaux say "Natchez has a wonderful education system" and that was the end of the discussion. I've also heard that our ACT scores in Natchez were second to last in the country - after the city of Washington, D.C. Is that true? Does anyone know the facts?

Buddo said...

I think the aldermen and bored of stupidvisors should be nuked!

Buddo B. Regusted

Anonymous said...

Ms. Hughes, I do not know what Ward you reside, but I would encourage you to run for Alderwoman. You will keep the other board members on their toes.

Anonymous said...

i think alderpersons should not serve more than 8 years. massey, west & middleton have been in there along time. time for some new faces & ideas.