James Island town council considering mayor pay raise, six-member council referendum

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 11:46 PM EDT
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - James Island town council members are proposing a series of changes for the future of their local government. On Thursday, town council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would triple the mayor’ salary for the next term.

Mayor Bill Woolsey currently makes $15,000 a year in a part-time position as mayor, but town council member Daniel Boles is proposing changing that to $48,000 starting in 2023.

“I think the job demands more time than that money reflects. I don’t think anyone runs for mayor for the money, but I would like to make it competitive or reasonable when compared with other towns and municipalities compared on what they pay their mayor,” Boles said.

The vote passed 3 to 2, but there were some questions regarding how much mayors in other areas are paid. One of the opposing votes was from Mayor Woolsey.

Woolsey says he works closely with the town administrator, which is a full-time position, and as mayor someone choose to either put in a lot of time and effort or little effort.

“I think $48,000 is too little to hire someone who would make this their full-time job, but it is really more than necessary for most people as a part time job, for someone who has a full-time job and does this as well,” Woolsey said.

Council members are encouraging people to come out to their next town council meeting in August and weigh in on whether the salary should change. If it does pass second reading, the increase would not go into effect until the next term in 2023.

Town council also considered a referendum to increase town council from four to six members. The referendum would be posed as a question on the ballot this November.

Town councilman Troy Mullinax said he is proposing the referendum because he believes the town will have more representation, and it will allow terms to be staggered.

“A lot of much smaller areas in the Charleston area, Ravenel, Hollywood, isle of Palms, they have six members already,” Mullinax said. “We have a town with 12,000 people and we need this. It also hopes to promote the staggering of terms, meaning not everyone is running at one time.”

Council voted to defer the item until their next meeting so they clean up the language in the referendum and figure out how to stagger the terms.

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