Two wrongs don&8217;t make a right

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

Do Natchez firefighters deserve step raises? Yes; they do work most people in our community would fear, and they do it for very little money.

But we don&8217;t even know where to begin in assessing how badly the city bungled their effort to give them raises.

They started off in the right direction last month by asking City Clerk Donnie Holloway to see where the city could get the money &8212; about $40,000 &8212; for the raises.

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Before Holloway could even give a report, Alderman Rickey Gray told firefighters they would give them raises beginning Jan. 1.

His reasoning? Apparently 85 other city workers were given $100-a-month raises starting in October instead of January, thanks to a clerical error.

Other aldermen criticized Gray Tuesday for jumping the gun, but they were stuck between a rock and a hard place after Gray&8217;s promise.

While we believe aldermen owe firefighters a raise, they also owe it to taxpayers to be fiscally responsible and wait to see how they will pay for the extra $40,000. They should have waited to make sure the budget could afford it.

Just because a clerical error gave other employees a raise too early doesn&8217;t mean the city has the money for a new expense. The old saying is true: Two wrongs don&8217;t make a right.