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Russellville approves first salary increase for elected officials in more than a decade

The year 2000 was the last time Russellville approved a pay increase for elected officials in the city.

Actually, that was last time before last Monday, when the city council voted unanimously to approve the increase ordinance, the first increase in 16 years.

“Alabama Code requires city councils to set the elected official salaries six months prior to elections, so this is actually for the next administration, whoever that may be,” explained Mayor David Grissom.

The ordinance, which the council voted to present for first reading as well as to put up for vote Jan. 4, raises the mayor’s salary from $36K per year to $48K per year and councilmembers’ salaries from $7,200 per year to $9,600 per year.

It was a decision, Grissom said, that was not made lightly.

“I think it’s a positive move in the right direction,” Grissom said. “We looked around at other municipalities throughout the state. When you compare with other municipalities, it gets us more in line, with the size city we’re operating and the budget we operate under.” He added, “It’s probably less than what you’ll find in other municipalities of the same size and budget that we operate.”

Grissom pointed out that the jobs of the mayor and council aren’t just about holding political office; they’re about running a business.

“We manage about $9 million a year,” Grissom said.

The increase won’t take effect until the next administration takes over, in November 2016.

Although the ordinance represents a 33 percent jump in the mayor’s salary, the amount represents the position of the mayor as essentially the CEO of the city. It’s an amount, Grissom said, that is still far exceeded by the salaries paid to department heads, but does reflect that the job of mayor is a full-time position.

 

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