Salary Study Committee discusses possible raises for next mayor and council

VIDEO: Salary Study Committee discusses possible raises for next mayor and council

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With growth booming in Charleston, city leaders met Wednesday night to discuss whether those managing the growth, the mayor and city council members, are being paid appropriately.

"It's a bigger city. There's a lot more revenue and there's a lot more people coming in and out of the area. The budget has grown. It's bigger," said Bill Scarborough with the Salary Study Committee.

In fact, the city's budget for 2015 is $181 million. The city currently employs 1,750 workers.

"It is a big business and the mayor and council have a really responsible job," Scarborough said.

At the meeting Wednesday, committee members didn't make any decisions on raises. They just looked at data and compared salaries from different cities and counties across the state. Here's what some other mayors and council members are making. In North Charleston, the city just passed a salary increase for the mayor and council. The mayor will take home around $177,000 and the council $15,900. In Myrtle Beach, the mayor makes $50,000 and the council $15,000. In Savannah, the mayor is making $42,000 and the council $14,500.

Mayor Riley now makes around $162,000 and the council $15,000. Riley got a raise in 2011, but city council hasn't seen one since 2008.

"Mayor Riley indicated that he is not going to run for reelection so this is not going to affect his pay or retirement. It would affect the new Mayor and the new City Council," said Stephen Bedard, Chief Financial Officer for the City of Charleston.

Mayor Riley initiated this meeting. The committee has not met to discuss salary increases since 2008.

"The Mayor, who has no financial interest in this at all felt this would be a good time to do it, particularly since it doesn't have any effect on him," said Bedard.

The committee will meet again and then make a recommendation to the full council. If they choose a salary increase, it won't go into affect until after the November election.

The next Salary Study Committee meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Feb. 10 at City Hall.

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