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Salary doubled for next mayor

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's next mayor will earn $24,000 a year, double the current salary.
The Hartselle City Council voted 3-2 to raise the salary for the next mayor. Voting for the increase were Mayor Clif Knight and councilmen Alvin Abercrombie, Frank Jones and Dick Carter. Against the increase were Tom Chappell and Don Hall.
The council also approved increases for the next city council, with a higher stipend for the city council president. The council's salary will be increased from $400 to $500 a month. The council president's salary will be raised from $400 a month to $675.
Alabama law requires the salaries of the mayor and city council to be set no less than six months prior to a municipal election.
Mayor Clif Knight earns $12,000 a year. The job is considered part-time though Knight works more than 40 hours a week. Knight is retired from the Hartselle Enquirer.
Because the city's population has exceeded 12,000 Hartselle's next mayor will not serve as a member of the council and will assume many of the duties formerly done by the city administrator.
City Administrator Ferrell Vest's contract was terminated earlier this year. Vest's total compensation package was some $80,000 per year.
Because of the change in the mayor's post, the future council president will also assume more duties, a reason council members cited for that increase.
While the future mayor will receive more money, the city still lags behind others of equal size.
Statistics show the average mayoral salary for cities with populations between 11,000 and 13,000 is $32,379 a year.
Chappell said he would have liked to have seen the salary at least increased to the state average.
"At $24,000, we're not going to attract a man or woman who can step outside what they are doing," Chappell said. "We're eliminating a lot of people at that salary."
But salary shouldn't be the issue, according to Carter.
"I have a problem with trying to buy a mayor for Hartselle," he said.
The latest salary incarnation is well below a raise plan the council voted down last month. That plan would have increased the mayor's pay to the $50-60,000 level.

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