Augusta leaders talk pay raises behind closed doors

Augusta leaders talked pay raises during a closed session meeting. (WRDW-TV)
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News 12 at 6'oclock / Monday, Feb. 4, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- He's only had his badge for a month but already the new Richmond County sheriff wants a pay raise. Sheriff Richard Roundtree just might get it, and he's not the only one.

City leaders met behind closed doors to talk money. City Administrator Fred Russell told News 12 that Roundtree requested a review of his salary.

"I think we need to look at salaries as a whole. So this is something I'm fine discussing," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

Well why was it done behind closed doors? Recently city leaders talked about giving a pay increase to Roundtree and Solicitor General Kelly McIntyre. Sources say it'll be based on their degree and certification level.

"If it's justified and based on qualifications. If it meets the statewide medium range income, that's OK with me," Copenhaver said.

Eleven-year Sheriff Ronnie Strength left office making just under $127,000. Roundtree makes just under $110,000.

Former Solicitor General Chuck Evans left office making $97,000. His replacement, McIntyre, makes $97,000 and 2 cents.

"It's a personnel issue, so that's about all I'm going to comment on that," Copenhaver said.

David Hudson has been practicing law for more than 40 years and works at Hull and Barrett Attorneys.

"They should be looking for ways to keep the meetings open instead of trying to find language that justifies going into closed session," Hudson said.

The Georgia Open Meetings Act says city leaders can close meetings when discussing employment, hiring, evaluation and compensation.

"With the strict language of the exemption, they can claim they met that," Hudson said.