The Marion County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Monday to accept a 3% raise for themselves.
The three incumbent supervisors, Beat 3’s Tony Morgan, Beat 4’s Tater Rowell and Beat 5’s Calvin Newsom, voted for the increase, while the two incoming supervisors, Beat 1’s Blue Green and Beat 2’s John Moree, voted against it.
The salary for supervisors is set by counties’ appraised value, and in Marion County it will go from $40,400 to $41,612.
The Legislature had approved pay hikes for multiple county elected offices in Senate Bill 2827 in 2019. Other positions like chancery clerk, circuit clerk, constable and coroner already received raises automatically, but each Board of Supervisors in the state had to vote to accept the 3% extra approved by the Legislature and could not do so until the new boards took office for their four-year terms this month.
Newsom addressed the topic of a pay raise toward the end of the meeting Monday and said this was only the fourth time in history the supervisors have received a raise. It’s the first since 2003.
The two new supervisors explained the reasons for their objections.
“With the shape of the county with the roads, I personally cannot vote to put a dime in my pocket. The Legislature should have donated money for roads and bridges before giving out raises,” Green said.
“I didn’t run for the job for the money; I ran for it because I think I could do better. Can you refuse the money?” Green said.
“If you want to,” Newsom responded.
“I would like to refuse it,” Green said.
Board attorney Drew Foxworth said he would have to look into that.
“I am going to vote against it because I was just elected, but there is enough of y’all to vote it in,” Moree said to the other supervisors.
However, Moree added, “It’s not enough; what we get paid is not enough.”
Beat 3 Supervisor Tony Morgan said he voted for the raise because you do not know when you will get another one.
“Calvin said there hasn’t been one since 2003. I know there hasn’t been one in eight years so. If we do not accept it, who knows when the Legislature will allow one again?” Morgan said.
Already three months into the fiscal year, supervisors’ salary will increase this year by $909 for a total of $41,309. Come the next fiscal year, which will start Oct. 1, 2020, the full increase will take effect.
Also Monday during its first meeting of the year, the board elected Morgan as board president and Rowell as vice president. Supervisors reappointed Drew Foxworth as board attorney, Jeff Dungan as county engineer and Aaron Greer as emergency management coordinator.