After months of discussing 6% pay raises for elected officials, the city of Jonesboro brought the issue back up in a special called finance committee meeting Tuesday. This time, they discussed a 2% raise for only the mayor, city attorney, and city clerk.
According to Bill Reznicek, the chief financial officer for the city, these raises were originally incorporated into the city’s budget as a line item. That’s because they considered the fact that 2015 was the last time the mayor, city clerk, and city attorney received raises.
“We just thought the best thing to do is to bring that out of the budget and pass it on separate ordinances for transparency purposes,” said Reznicek. “We started to feel like there may be concern about this so we consulted with our legislative audit in Little Rock and held this special meeting to pass the ordinances.”
Because of the concern among council members, no vote was made on the issue. Instead, the committee members agreed that this is an issue that the full council should decide on.
The concern discussed was whether or not these 2% raises were made possible through drastic cuts to certain city department projects in 2018. Reznicek said that was not the case.
“We made cuts in the original budget submissions but that is the typical budget process,” said Reznicek. “So these (raises) were factored in based on what we felt like was at the time a fair and equitable adjustment to their compensation.”
He said these raises, or cost of living adjustments, were created to act as a placeholder for the time being.
“The original proposal for raises will be revisited,” said Reznicek. “This will give us time to go back and come up with a long-term solution that will provide raises for even the council members. That number may or may not be at 6% but we’ll try to figure out something that would compensate all elected officials.”
The ordinances will be discussed in the next city council meeting, and if passed on three readings, Reznicek said it will only impact the budget by $5,500 out of $61 million each year.
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