When a $10,000 salary raise for the next mayoral term was proposed at Monday's Sulphur City Council meeting, some in the audience disagreed with it.
"$80,000 is already more than enough to keep up with the current cost of living," Donnie Fuselier said at the meeting.
And he wasn't the only one in opposition.
Fuselier asked Mayor Chris Duncan, "Do you support this idea to raise your salary if re-elected?" To which Duncan responded, "No, I do not."
Duncan's current salary is $80,000 a year. The proposed ordinance would increase his salary to $90,000 beginning the next term of office - meaning the $10,000 bump would go into effect when the newly elected mayor takes office in 2018 - whether that be Duncan or a new mayor.
"I still think $80,000 is a reasonable salary for the mayor," said Duncan.
He said that, on average, with cities of similar size, mayors are making between $65,000-$90,000. The current salary was set ahead of the 2010 election, when Duncan sat on the council. He voted in favor of the raise that brought the salary up to $80,000, but said he did so before he ever had the intention of entering the race.
Randy Favre, a council member, is proposing the increase this time. At Monday's meeting, he said he crunched the numbers and the $10,000 raise for the mayor is equivalent to the cumulative raises the mayor's position would have earned, had it been treated like other city positions. In other words, all city employees (except for the mayor) get about a 2 percent raise each year. Favre sees this $10,000 bump as making up for the incremental raises the mayor's position hasn't been getting.
While Duncan said he's fine with the mayor's position getting the same annual increase each year as other city employees, he disagrees with the money coming all at once.
"It's not fair to all of a sudden jump this high when the other employees are only getting 2-percent plus whatever else the council puts on top of that," said Duncan.
Duncan said he thinks that money would be better spent on other city employees. He said if the council is set on increasing the salary of the mayor, he would much rather see the same small percentage each year like other city employees, with a cap on the salary.
The ordinance will go for public hearing and vote at the next council meeting. If it passes, it then goes to the mayor's desk.
"As it is written today, I plan to veto it," said Duncan.
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