2011-06-30 / Front Page

City leaders must vote again to pass council, mayor raises

At the next regular meeting of the Washington City Council next Monday evening, July 11, the council will welcome a new member and will hold a required second vote on raising their own salaries.

Henry Harris, who won last week’s special municipal election to fill the unexpired term of Councilman Pamela L. G. Eaton, will take his seat at the table for the meeting. Harris said Monday that he hopes to be sworn in privately prior to the meeting.

The main item on the city agenda will be a vote to amend the city charter to increase the pay of city councilmen and the mayor. Although council passed a motion to more than double their pay at their June meeting, the city charter requires a second vote of the council to adopt a new ordinance that amends the charter to that effect.

The City of Washington published a notice in the June 23 and June 30 issues of The News-Reporter serving notice of the City’s intention to consider that action during the July 11 meeting. If passed, the mayor’s annual pay would be increased from $7,200 to $16,800, and councilmen’s pay would go from $3,600 to $8,400 a year.

The first vote to more than double those paychecks was proposed by Councilman Nathaniel Cullars and supported by fellow District 1 Councilmen Marion Tutt Jr. and Kimberly Rainey. Their three votes carried the proposal over the objections of District 2 councilmen Edward B. Pope Jr. and Ames Barnett.

When the final vote to increase salaries in the city charter comes next Monday night, the additional vote cast by Henry Harris is expected to put the issue into a tie, forcing Mayor Willie Burns to break the tie with his own vote.

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It is fitting that the Mayor

It is fitting that the Mayor will have to decide if he is self serving or not.