Will county supervisors give themselves a raise?

Published 12:23 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

NATCHEZ — Adams County Board of Supervisors — along with the two justice court judges and the county prosecuting attorney — are eligible for a raise.

The county has surpassed $300 million in total assets thanks to its assessed value of oil and gas in production, board attorney Scott Slover said. Slover said the valuations are approximately $305 million.

Once the county surpassed $300 million, each of the five supervisors became eligible for a $4,300 annual raise, which would increase their pay from $40,400 to $44,700 per year. Justice court judge’s salary is equal to what supervisors make, and prosecuting attorney’s salary is connected to what the justice court judges make.

Email newsletter signup

Slover said to approve the raise, the supervisors would have to pass a resolution stating the amount of the increase and spread it over the minutes. If the supervisors vote themselves a raise, the justice court judges, Charlie Vess and Patricia Dunmore, and the county prosecuting attorney, Barrett Martin, would automatically have their salaries increased from $40,400 to $44,700, as well.

Slover said his salary — $40,400 — is also tied to what the supervisors make, but according to statute the board attorney can make less than the supervisors. Slover said the board would have to take specific action to increase the board attorney’s salary.

Board President Mike Lazarus said he campaigned on having a salary of $40,400, so he would vote no, but three of the other four members — Ricky Gray, Angela Hutchins and Calvin Butler — of the board said they would vote yes. David Carter could not be reached for comment.

Lazarus said he understands why his fellow supervisors would want a raise, but he said the timing is bad and he would rather other county employees get raises before the supervisors do.

“For the hours I put in, I do not get paid enough,” Lazarus said. “But I knew that going in.”

Lazarus said should the board accept the pay upgrade, he would have to accept it because he would be taxed at the increased value. However, he said he would likely donate the additional $4,300 to charity.

Gray, Butler and Hutchins all said supervisors around the state have been lobbying for pay increases for years, so they would vote to pass the resolution.

“The board of supervisors have not had a raise in 10 years,” Hutchins said. “The way we work, as hard as we work and what we have to do, I think a raise is due.

“We didn’t ask for the raise, it’s based off reaching the assessed value.”

Butler said he wanted to make sure the county was doing everything by the book.

“When I ran for the job, I didn’t know how much a supervisor was paid,” he said. “So it wasn’t about the money, the main thing is moving Adams County forward.

“Hopefully with this assessment going up, it will improve other things we need in the county.”

Butler said another aspect of the increase he was in favor of is it would bump up the salary for the hard-working justice court judges and prosecuting attorney.

The resolution can be approved or voted down as soon as someone brings it up, Lazarus said. The supervisor’s next meeting is at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.