Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Columbus Council Overturns Pay Raise

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Under pressure from an angry public, the Columbus City Council voted 5-1 tonight to rescind a $4,000 pay raise.

Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin lead the effort to overturn the decision from two weeks ago and got support from all but Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens.

Tonight, council members said the pay raise was a bad idea given the city’s other needs.

“We asked them to trust us to lead this city and to be good stewards. Now I’m going to ask you to do the right thing,” Gavin said, referring to the campaign for City Council seats that ended just a month ago with city elections.

“We have too many other needs and issues facing the city, Gavin noted, referring to the city’s declining sales tax and property values.

The new council, which has only one new member in Ward 4′s Marty Turner, was sworn in Monday.

The original vote to raise the pay from $17,500 to $21,500 was 3-2 with Gavin and Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box the only opponents at that time. Outgoing Ward 4 Councilman Fred Stewart did not attend that meeting.

“I can’t legitimately take a pay raise when I see my brothers and sisters walk up and down the street needing employment and jobs; I would be less of an individual to take this pay raise at this particular time,” said Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem, who was one of the three who voted for the pay raise two weeks ago.

Karriem, Turner and Ward 1′s Gene Taylor all voted to overturn the previous vote.

The vote drew applause from the large crowd attending the meeting.

Before the decision, Gavin and Box had said they would use their pay raises, if the motion to rescind failed, to establish scholarships, Gavin at EMCC where he is a professor and Box at the YMCA where he once was director.