Mayor's Pay Raise has Cash-Strapped Community Looking for Answers

APRIL 15, 2004 - Posted 4:26 p.m. CDT

One Blytheville city councilman is wondering how the city can afford to give the mayor a ten thousand dollar raise when they are already struggling to pay the bills.  David Lendennie says he asked the mayor to hold off on recieiving a pay raise due to the tight budget for the remainder of the year.  He says the mayor still accepted the pay raise.

Mayor Harrison admits he did recieve a ten thousand dollar raise.  Adding the money isn't as much a raise as it is a rate increase for added responsibility.  The mayor is now directly in charge of the cities water and waste water departments.  The former director was paid over sixty thousand dollars a year for the job.  After the director retired the city voted to do away with the position.

Mayor Harrison says this is the first time in his six years to recieve a raise.  He says the former mayor was granted a raise which doubled his salary to fifty thousand a year.  That mayor, Harrison says, had an assistant mayor.  Something he does not have.  He says in all the city is saving at least 81 thousand dollars due to his new position.

City councilman Mylas Jeffers agrees with the mayor.  He says the mayor deserves the raise.

Most Blytheville city workers have not recieived a raise in the past five years.  The police and fire departments are the only exception.