DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – It has been seven years since Darlington City Council members and the Mayor have seen an increase in salary.
At the July 14 city council meeting, a resolution was passed to increase the salaries of both council and the Mayor. All but two council members voted for the pay increase. Council members James Cooper and John Segars voted against it.
“I felt like the city has some long standing issues that we need to address,” said Cooper.
Not too long after the meeting, an online petition was started wanting the city to rescind the increase. In part, the petition calls for an adoption of a new ordinance to require all salary increases of elected officials to be put on a referendum.
The petition also criticizes the lack of businesses in the city, takes aim at an under performing city council and notes how first responders are being overworked and underpaid.
According to City Manager Howard Garland, last time council received a pay raise was in 2008 when council’s salary went up from $2,500 to $3,500. The mayor’s salary jumped from $5,000 dollars to $6,000 at the time.
Now council will move up to making $5,000 a year, while the mayor will make $8,500.
“You want to do a pay increase, but you got to make sure that the performance matches the output. Just with the city I think that we could do a lot more to help our constituents. We got plans on the table that cost money, so let’s get those done before we can even begin to bring up that conversation of monetary investment,” Cooper explained.
Council member Dyan Cohen says she drew up the proposal for the increase.
Mayor Tony Watkins says that in order for this resolution to be addressed, petitioners would have to go in front of city council.
Click here to see the petition.