Oxford’s future mayor and aldermen might make more than current officials

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The city might be bumping up the salaries of its future mayor and aldermen to hopefully broaden the candidate pool for those positions.

Earlier this year, the Board of Aldermen appointed a committee to examine the salaries of the mayor and aldermen, which haven’t been raised in eight years.

Committee member Eli Gross said the committee’s recommendation is less about the people in office and more about the positions themselves.

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“In theory, we could have a larger pool of candidates who can afford to take these positions,” Gross said.

The committee recommended raising the salary of the mayor by 17 percent, from $72,800 to $85,000 annually, and the aldermen from $14,000 to $18,500 annually.

Public hearing scheduled

The Board of Aldermen heard the first reading of the proposed salary adjustment ordinance Tuesday during their regular meeting. A public hearing will be held during the second reading in two weeks. The board is expected to vote on the increased salaries on Oct. 4; however, the new salaries won’t go into effect until July 1, 2017, after the municipal elections in June.

Gross said the committee looked at other Mississippi cities with populations within 5,000 of Oxford’s population to see how much their city officials earned. He also pointed out that city employees have received a cost-of-living raise almost every year in the past eight years while the mayor and aldermen salaries haven’t changed.

Gross suggested the committee review the salaries every four years.

“That way we’re not playing catch-up like this,” he said Tuesday.

The six-member committee included chairman Richard Devoe, a CPA and former alderman; Jen Keiser McMillan, CPA and controller for Aramark; Corderick Govan, manager of Enterprise Rentals; Rhonnie Riggs, retired CPA; Jarred Myers, attorney; and Gross, manager of Trustmark bank.