Councilwoman Delgado moved to table the vote on the across the board 5% pay raise for city workers, giving the council time to discuss a different allocation method to the raise proposed by mayor Johnny Dupree. In the previous day’s meeting Delgado proposed giving a $3.50 per hour raise to anyone earning $25.000 or less. Hattiesburg City Councilman and President Kim Bradley agreed that placing more emphasis on the lower paid workers should be the focus. Starting at $8.00 per hour is “difficult, very difficult” Bradley said. He went on to say, “I think we need to “focus on the every day worker, and those guys and gals that are on the low end” .
Council Vice President and Ward 4 representative Dave Ware suggested in the previous day’s meeting that a base raise be given to all workers, and the remaining amount be given at the department head’s discretion; intended to reward the better performers. Mr. Naylor expressed concern in the previous days meeting that workers might be unfairly targeted for demanding safety equipment or other job issues, and not get fair treatment. Councilman Naylor didn’t seem on board with giving department heads any discretion in the matter, while Councilwoman Delgado seemed open to such a compromise.
Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley expressed concern that both he and Dave Ware were informed of a 3% raise about 3 months ago with the a financial officer, and were uninformed until the Thursday 31st of May of the 5% proposal submitted by the Mayor. He was especially surprised when the previously discussion closed many of the currently unfilled positions; thereby offsetting the cost that 3% plan. City employees have not had a cost of living adjustment or raise since 2008.