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Pay hikes for next Hartselle mayor, council

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Following through on recommendations that a Georgia company made last year, city leaders agreed to increase the pay for the next mayor and council.

Condrey & Associates of Athens, Ga., recommended in August that Hartselle increase the mayor's pay from $24,000 to $55,000. The company said the city should increase council pay from $6,000 to $8,000 annually, and the council president's salary from $7,500 to $9,500.

The city has to set the salary for the next administration at least six months before the 2008 municipal elections.

"We're just following their recommendations," Council President Kenny Thompson said at Monday's work session. "The pay is quite a bit under everybody else's."

Thompson said Hartselle had a full-time mayor years ago and the council cut his pay because they did not want him to run for office again.

"I don't have a problem with this," former Mayor and current Councilman Samie Wiley said.

Wiley said the salary was $34,000 when he served as mayor between 1992 and 1996.

The council members could vote Tuesday night to ratify their decision.

The current council will not see the benefits of the pay raises unless they are elected for a second term.

Condrey's recommendations for mayor and council pay were part of a salary survey Hartselle commissioned in 2006 for all city employees. The council implemented the recommended pay increases for city employees, but did not act on the recommendations for elected officials.

Based on population, Hartselle has some of the lowest paid elected officials in the state.

The company reached the proposed pay for the mayor and council by comparing Hartselle to cities of similar sizes.

The cites of Fort Payne and Trussville, for example, have populations smaller than Hartselle, but their mayors make at least $34,000 more than Mayor Dwight Tankersley.

In 2003, the previous administration talked about increasing the mayor's pay from $12,000 to $50,000, but the recommendation failed to garner a majority vote. Instead, city leaders increased the pay to $24,000, appropriated a new vehicle and authorized the mayor to participate in Hartselle's insurance program. Tankersley did not accept the vehicle.

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