Canton eyes pay raise for council, mayor
by Joshua Sharpe
May 01, 2013 11:29 PM | 1333 views | 4 4 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — The Canton City Council is set once again to enter talks on pay raises for future council members and the position of mayor at its meeting tonight.

Councilman John Beresford said Wednesday that he called for the discussion and that a raise for the city council and mayor is long overdue.

Right now, members of the Canton City Council make $2,100 a year and the mayor receives $3,500.

The plan now up for discussion would raise the pay to $8,000 a year for council members and $10,000 for the mayor, which is about a 300 percent increase.

The city council last touched on the issue in December 2012 and voted for the raises to go through.

But 10 days later the pay hikes died when Mayor Gene Hobgood vetoed the action, and the council then voted to sustain his veto.

Hobgood said Wednesday that, if necessary, he’ll use his veto power to stop the raises again.

Beresford said the raises are needed, and that the pay they receive right now is just too little for the amount of work they do. He said he’ll keep pushing the issue until pay raises go through.

“The councilmen work their tails off for (their salaries),” he said. “I calculated it out once using rough numbers, and it came out to be about 58 cents an hour.”

Hobgood said he won’t support raises at this time, even though any salary changes made now would only affect those elected to the city council and the mayor’s office in future, and not any on the payroll now.

Hobgood said his opposition is in large part because elections for several of these positions are coming up later this year.

“Some of the incumbents may be running for re-election,” Hobgood said. “It doesn’t seem like a good time to be going out for yourself a pay raise.”

Hobgood did, however, agree with Beresford’s argument that the current salaries are low when compared to other cities in the county.

With nearly 23,000 residents, Canton is the second most populated city in Cherokee County, just behind Woodstock.

The city council members and mayor of Woodstock, however, make more than three times the amount each year for the same positions in Canton, with their council members pulling in $9,000 a year and their mayor $12,000.

Hobgood said that’s beside the point.

“I’ve never really thought the city of Canton ought to pattern itself after other cities in the county,” he said. “(The salaries are) low, and I think raises will come. But why now?”

If it takes money to interest other candidates to run they shouldn’t run, he said.

Beresford, though, contended that money wasn’t what made him run for his seat on the council at all.

“I got into this to serve,” he said.

Beresford added that, whatever the outcome of the council’s discussion tonight, he will just keep bringing up the issue until it’s resolved to his satisfaction.

“I will continue bringing it forward, election year, no election year,” he said. “When you take next nothing and increase it by 300 percent, it’s still next to nothing.”

Councilman Hooky Huffman said he agrees with Beresford that it’s time for a raise.

“If you want people to come in there that have a half a mind,” he said, “you gotta give them some incentive.”
Comments
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This and That
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May 02, 2013
I love Huffman's statement that says,“If you want people to come in there that have a half a mind, you gotta give them some incentive." I agree with Huffman here because that means that the council now has no mind at all! Brainless!
ClayCampbell
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May 02, 2013
I can't believe that John Beresford, and Huffy actually believe that a "salary" will attract candidates? If the salary were say 25k or 30k then maybe. The timing is certainly questionable. But, Mr. Beresford will not need to worry about it as he will be leaving the council at the end of this year. Let's spend more of the tax payers money. You have all turned a deaf ear to your constituents and it will haunt you.
Half a Mind
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May 02, 2013
Leave it to Beresford to keep bringing things up until they are resolved "to his satisfaction." Never mind his constituents who are outraged by the notion of this lackluster Council voting themselves a salary increase. It's about public service, and if they don't want to serve. much less, perform to the public's satisfaction, they should resign! They don't need pay raises; they need pink slips!
This and That
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May 02, 2013
Why is Canton having so many problems?

Let's consider Mr. Beresford calculation that he works for 58 cents an hour. If Mr. Beresford works 10 hours each day, 7 days a week, for the city, then his salary would be $2,111.20 a year. I sincerely doubt that Mr. Beresford is working this much for the city. Why? What has he accomplished. I believe he is overpaid!
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