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Amended budget restores pay increases, leaves two police positions unfunded

By Bill ShortFlag City Logo

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed amended budget and salary ordinances on final reading this week that reinstate pay increases but leave two restored police positions unfunded.
Board members took the actions Monday night during a special called meeting. Each ordinance was passed by a 6-1 vote, with Alderman Chris Ford the lone dissenter.
Although both ordinances were originally passed on three readings in June, they were vetoed by Mayor Terry Jones.
At the board’s regular monthly meeting on July 1, separate motions to override the vetoes failed when they received only four votes. Five votes are required to approve an override.
The amended ordinances were passed on first and second readings, respectively, at special meetings on July 11 and 15.
Shortly after the votes Monday night, Alderman Mike Caruthers asked Jones whether the newly approved budget will “satisfy” him, or if the board members will be facing another veto.
“I’m trying to put you on the spot, you know that,” Caruthers said. “I just don’t want us to go through what we did last time.”
“I’ll let you know tomorrow,” Jones responded.
The board voted to restore salary increases of 3 percent to city employees and 5 percent to department directors that were approved in the 2013 fiscal year budget but were rescinded at the July 15 meeting.
A motion offered by Alderman Frankie Dakin and seconded by Alderman Thomas McGhee to restore the 3-percent increases was passed unanimously. But a motion offered by McGhee and seconded by Alderman Hank Hawkins to reinstate the 5-percent increases was passed by a 4-3 vote, with Caruthers, Dakin and Alderman Larry Dagen dissenting.
A motion to eliminate the two police officer positions that were reinstated at the July 15 meeting was defeated by a 5-2 vote, with only McGhee and Dagen supporting it.
And a motion to restore the deputy fire chief position in the fire department was defeated by a 4-3 vote, with Caruthers, Ford and Hawkins supporting it.
On separate motions offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by McGhee, the board voted to fund the 3- and 5-percent pay increases but not fund the two police officer positions.
McGhee said those positions might be eliminated after Human Resources Director Sam Underwood completes a comprehensive study of how the city’s employees are compensated.
At the July 15 meeting, the board approved a motion offered by Huffman and seconded by Dakin that any funds remaining after the police positions are restored should be placed in the Capital Improvements Program budget for matching grant money and other capital projects.
On Monday night, the board voted to remove the $102,198 that had been added to the CIP budget.

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