City Council members seem to think another raise is needed, but aren’t sure if now the’s right time.
Mayor Bob Morris included a $12,000 raise for himself in the budget for the year beginning July 1. The budget will be considered by the council at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Morris brandishes a survey which shows the average area mayoral pay is $56,000.
That survey shows ranges up to $62,000 in Crowley and $69,000 in Rayne. The Eunice mayor is paid $28,400.
Alderman at-large Jack Burson has said a number of times that the Eunice mayor’s post should be paid more. His last formal effort at a change was in May 2004, when is motion was tabled after vigorous opposition from some, including then-private citizen Morris.
Now that he’s been mayor for 18 months, Morris has a different opinion. He notes his administration’s thrift as cut city spending by almost $1 million a year.
Burson said he’s still believes the mayor’s salary should be increased. In 2004, he proposed about $45,000. But he said considering current economic conditions he’s not sure now’s the time to implement a change.
Dale Soileau agreed. “Is now the time? I’m not sure. But even if its raised to forty thousand, the city would still be behind others in the region,” he said.
It rankles Morris that a number of firemen and policemen are paid more than the mayor “not even counting their state supplement.”
Those departments have seen changes in pay requirements through the Legislature as well as changes in city pay rates in years when the mayor’s pay remained unchanged.
Raises in the mayor’s pay were made in 1989, five percent, and 1991, two percent, in addition to the 1996 change.
Alderwoman Chawana Fontenot agrees with Morris the job should pay more but questions whether he should have an increase.
“Considering the past 18 months, I’m more than a little hesitant,” she said.
Fontenot said she would favor a raise for the job effective with the next term, no matter who the mayor is.
Morris says that’s not a concern of his, because he won’t be a candidate.
“I think I deserve the raise. That’s why it’s in the budget,” he said.
Alderman Bubba Bourque didn’t rule out a Morris raise, saying the post is underpaid, but said he thought the mayor “is trying to ram it” “down our throat.”
He says we should work together, but he doesn’t take my calls or return messages,” Bourque said.
Bourque will ask the council to amend the budget to provide a 3 percent across-the-board raise.
“Raises were selective last go-around. This year they shouldn’t be, and there’s enough money for it” he said.
The increase Bourque proposes would require about $80,000 to $85,000 more in payroll appropriations, according to numbers in the current and proposed budgets.