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Decatur City Commission considers giving itself 150 percent pay increase

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Decatur City Commission considers giving itself 150 percent pay increase

Decatur City Hall.

Decatur City Hall.

Serving on the Decatur City Commission traditionally hasn’t been well-paid gig.

Mayors are paid a paltry $500 per month, $6,000 a year, only sightly better than commissioners, who make $400 a month, or $4,800 a year. Those rates were set more than 23 years ago. Now the city is considering a 150 percent salary increase, bumping the mayor’s pay to $15,000 a year and a commissioner’s pay to $12,000.

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Those pay increases are on the agenda for the July 17 City Commission meeting.

“The expectations for the Mayor and City Commissioners have significantly changed over the past 23 years,” a memo from City Manager Peggy Merriss says. “The elected officials are expected to be more visible at community gatherings and events and the advent of multiple social media platforms and the expectation of immediate access and response has increased the time and effort required by elected officials to be responsive to many constituencies.”

The city conducted a salary survey and found that Decatur isn’t keeping up with its counterparts in DeKalb County. Only Pine Lake’s mayor makes less than Decatur, though the city commissioners’ salaries are more in line with what other city commission and council members receive.

A salary survey conducted by the city of Decatur that includes the proposed pay raise.

Decatur’s mayor is selected by fellow commissioners at the start of each year. The current Mayor is Patti Garrett, who is running for reelection to the commission this November. Commissioner Fred Boykin is vacating his seat after more than 15 years on the commission, and there already are three challengers running to replace him: Tim Martin, Melissa Manrow, and Kelly Walsh.

If approved by the city commission, the new salaries would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

The July 17 City Commission meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street in Decatur. All meetings are open to the public.

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