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Commissioners to vote on own pay

Will Warren County commissioners approve removing their committee pay, or will they give themselves a pay increase?

Two resolutions, among others on the docket, will be under consideration during the monthly meeting of commissioners this coming Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. 

Resolution No. 21-2019 will formally remove committee pay. If that measure fails, the next resolution on the agenda will set committee pay at $30 per meeting, an increase of $5 per meeting, per commissioner. 

County Executive Jimmy Haley suggested to members of the county Financial Management Committee when it met Aug. 1 that instead of removing their pay, commissioners should consider increasing it from $25 to $30.

“According to TCA, we are in the fourth class so $30 is like the minimum that you can actually pay,” said Haley, who later added, “If we continue commission pay, it looks like by TCA that we’ll have to up it, it looks like, to $30. Twenty-five dollars does not meet the class.”

TCA code outlines pay for “sessions” and does not specifically mention committee meetings.

Finance Department director Justin Cotten asked, “Is it legal counsel’s opinion that committee meetings are considered a session?”

“That’s up for debate, whether it is or not,” said Haley. 

Committee members took no action on the suggestion. Instead, the resolution to remove committee pay ended in a three-way vote: two voting yes to remove committee pay, two voting against removal of it, and two opting to not participate in the vote by abstaining. 

When the consolidated budget for 2019-20 was approved by the County Commission in July, it passed with the monthly $260 salary for commissioners intact, but without committee pay. A resolution is now required as a final step in that removal process.