05/16/17 — Councilmen give themselves a raise

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Councilmen give themselves a raise

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on May 16, 2017 9:57 AM

The Goldsboro City Council switched its decision on a city-funded health insurance plan for the seven members of the council Monday.

After Councilman Bevan Foster suggested the council receive an annual pay increase from $12,000 to $13,000 or $14,000 each, Councilman Gene Aycock changed course.

Aycock, who in February agreed during a unanimous vote to provide health insurance as a council benefit, said Monday the council can pay for its own policy.

The council backed Aycock's motion in a divided 4 to 3 vote, with Aycock, Mayor Chuck Allen, Councilman Bill Broadaway and Councilman David Ham voting in favor of the change. Foster, Councilman Antonio Williams and Councilman Mark Stevens voted against the change.

The vote includes nearly a 50 percent increase in pay for the council. The council's annual pay will increase with each member receiving the amount it costs to pay for a city health insurance policy.

Each member of the council, except the mayor, currently receives, $12,000 in annual pay and travel reimbursements. The mayor is eligible to receive $16,200, but gives $11,400 to fund the city's star award program.

The city's health insurance plan will cost $494 per month, starting in July when the fiscal 2017-18 budget goes into effect. The council pay increase would result in members of the council receiving $17,928 per year and the mayor receiving $22,128.

The increase reflects an almost 50 percent boost in pay for each council member and a near 37 percent increase in pay for the mayor.

Aycock said he plans to use his pay increase to start a Wayne Community College scholarship fund for the children of city employees. Broadaway said he will probably give his raise to the WCC foundation, and Stevens said he will give his to area businesses to create new jobs. The three councilmen said they do not need health insurance.

Aycock's motion, which council approved, allows each member of the council to either use the raise to pay for health insurance or any other purpose.

During the council's budget public hearing, Ed Cianfarra, a former city employee, said the council's current pay is adequate but the budget's proposed 1 percent raise for city employees isn't enough.

"Your salaries are in line," he said. "I think it's an insult to the employees. I think it's unfair."

The council will continue to review the city's fiscal 2017-18 budget during the next several weeks, and could still make changes to the proposed plan.