City Council approves salary increases for elected officials - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

City Council approves salary increases for Atlanta's elected officials

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ATLANTA -

The Atlanta City Council approved a plan on Monday that includes a pay raise for the mayor and council members.  

Supporters say the increases are needed to draw quality candidates, but opponents called it a waste of taxpayer dollars.  

Under the plan, council members will receive a 50 percent increase in pay from $39,000 to more than $60,000 a year.  That's for what supposed to be a part-time job, but often turns into much more.  The mayor's salary would also go up 29 percent from $147,000 to $184,000 a year.  

The raises were pushed by an independent review committee that looked into compensation for Atlanta's elected officials.  Supporters say bigger salaries would bring better candidates, but some union officials think the money would be better spent on those supplying city services.  Taxpayer watchdogs also wonder about the wisdom of giving elected officials big raises.

While most council members chose to remain silent on the issue, veteran council member Cleta Winslow defended her vote for the pay raise.

"There have been a lot media that's been running around today -- I'm not afraid of the media. I believe that we deserve the raise and I'm just going to say it," Winslow said after listening to numerous speakers question the timing and amount of the proposed salary hike.

City labor leaders urged the council to do nothing until they can simultaneous consider pay hikes for all city employees.

In the end, the measure passed by a 10-4 vote. Kwanza Hall, Natalyn Archibong and C.T. Martin and Keisha Bottoms were the opposing votes, while council member Ivory Young was not present for the meeting. Staffers told FOX 5's Morse Diggs that Young was out of town.

The Atlanta City Council has not received a pay increase since 2005.

The pay raise is scheduled to go into effect for the next City Council.

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