Augusta Officials Pay Raise Controversy

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

One Augusta commissioner wants some elected officials to get a pay increase. This comes after some of those same officials are paying back an eight percent raise mistakenly approved by the city administrator.

Commissioner Don Grantham says it's been eight years since the sheriff, judges, the district attorney and several other elected officials have seen a boost in pay.

And that's why he, along with members of our state delegation, is supporting a bill being discussed right now in Atlanta that would put those officials' salaries in line with comparable cities like Columbus, Georgia.

Commissioner Betty Beard says she's all for doing that, but feels if some officials get a raise, they all should.

“I personally feel it will create a problem because everybody won't be getting it,” says Beard.

Grantham says, “We gave raises to elected officials all during the course of last year if you recall, so was it fair to give those raises and not give to those that we're talking about now.”

Meanwhile, Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver says, “The delegation is putting together legislation to address what they perceive to be an issue over salaries and I just would request that they really take a look at our bottom line as they consider this.”

State Rep. Quincy Murphy says that if the commission wants to give money to all elected officials, they need to generate more revenue, because the positions have to be adequately funded.

At least two elected officials have tried to pay the city back its money from when they were incorrectly awarded pay raises.

The marshal, the sheriff, the clerk state and superior of court, the solicitor general, and the coroner all received the eight percent pay raise signed off by the city administrator.

Raises must be approved by the state.

Solicitor General Harold Jones and Clerk of Superior Court Elaine Johnson tried to pay all of their money back, but they couldn't since it has to be handled through payroll for tax purposes.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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