JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Councilman De’Keither Stamps proposed an ordinance that would allow the council to decrease the salaries of key members in Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s administration, as well as council members.
Councilman Aaron Banks, who issued his own proposal, an increase in salary for all personnel within the police and fire departments, supports Stamps.
“You know we have a lot un-traditional salaries. We never had a Chief of Staff getting paid $100,000. A chief of staff usually starts out at $75,000. The previous two CAO’s were getting $80-$85,000,″ Councilman Banks said.
“This one is getting $112,000,” he continued. "And so when we’re in a budget crisis like we are in, Stamps is just trying to find a way to begin a conversation about what we might need to do.”
Those affected would be the mayor, the mayor’s staff, the chief administrator, the administrator’s staff, and all department directors. That includes Public Works, Planning and Development and Transportation.
Councilman Stamps based his proposal on a study conducted in ten cities. Using several indicators as a benchmark, each city rated its performance.
He says the same tool should be used in Jackson, and it’s the only way to identify the city’s strengths and weaknesses. Stamps also says the city owes it to residents.
“Every Marine Corp unite you go to, the leadership eats last. At every level. You take care of your people first.”
Reactions from other council members were hard to read. Council President Melvin Priester, Jr. seemed slightly amused, but the only person to voice opposition was Councilman Kenneth Stokes.
“This is some serious stuff. This isn’t some joke. This is serious. One of the most serious things that has hit this city in a long time,” he said resolutely.