City manager may get about 2.5 percent raise

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Salary to reach just under $171,000 in October, if approved

By Blenda Copeland

City Manager Wallace Hunter is up for a possible, roughly 2.5 percent pay raise in October if council approves it.

The increase would bump his salary to around $170,866 – or a little less than $171,000.

During a public budget session that continued June 28, the Phenix City Council considered multiple points when discussing potential pay raises for the city manager, appointed city judges, the city clerk and the city attorney.

Regarding the city manager position, “He deserves a raise,” Councilman Griff Gordy opined of Hunter. Human Resources Director Stephanie Chastain confirmed to the council it has been two years since Hunter’s last step increase in pay. It also was pointed out that Hunter has about 10 years’ experience in the city manager position now. Also mentioned was that he now has an assistant city manager to help him. Council Member Vickey Carter Johnson also pointed out the level of stress involved with the duties of the high-ranking position, reiterating that it’s been two years since Hunter’s last raise.

Hunter’s experience includes having previously served as the city’s fire chief and before that as a firefighter, and also having worked as a city police officer as well as handling other past and current duties.

The council also discussed possibly giving City Clerk Melony Lee an approximate 5 percent pay increase, raising her current $61,724 salary to around $65,000. According to discussion, before she was hired to fill the city clerk position left vacant by previous clerk Charlotte Goodrich, Lee’s salary was in the range of a little more than $42,000.

The council also discussed keeping City Attorney Jimmy Graham at his current pay level, which is an approximately $30,000 base fee, plus hourly compensation for when he’s representing the city in court.

Also discussed was a request from appointed judges for a possible 10 percent pay increase. Council member Steve Bailey remarked in discussion that it’s been about 10 years since the last increase for at least one of the judges, if not the group.

The proposed raises mentioned above – if approved in finality – are set to become effective this October.

The proposed FY 2018-’19 budget does not become finalized until after a public hearing, currently set for Aug. 9, and a public council vote to approve the budget, currently set for Aug. 21 (note that both dates are subject to change). The council met Tuesday past Citizen deadline for this article. As of June 29, a media copy of July 2’s city council agenda did not list an intention of voting on the proposed budget.

The council is set to meet again July 17 – the same day as Russell County’s Primary Election Runoff. Meetings begin at 9 a.m. ET in the City Council Chamber at the Public Safety Building, 1111 Broad St., Phenix City.

NOTE: Regarding Russell County’s Primary Election Runoff, registered Phenix City voters who normally vote at the Central Activity Center as their precinct during elections will have to vote on July 17 at a different location. That’s because the Central Activity Center is closed to the public for an air conditioning system upgrade.

The Central Activity Center precinct’s location has been changed to the: “C”-Club, 1500 15th St., Phenix City (across the street from the Phenix City-Russell County Public Library.) Signs will be posted to direct voters to the proper location. 

For more information, call Russell County Probate Judge Alford Harden’s office at (334) 298-7979.