Meridian City Council Approves Raises, New Civil Service Commissioner

Meridian, Mississippi The raises range from $881.00 to Community Development Director John McClure to a more-than $5,000 increase for Public Works Director Hugh Smith. Ward One Councilman George Thomas and Ward Three's Barbara Henson voted against the raises. Mayor Percy Bland says the salary increases came as a result of compromise. "My department heads' salaries had been decreased by about $40,000 back in October," Bland told Newscenter 11. "The City Council compromised and gave an increase for five of those department heads to total up to about $15,000."

The Mayor says Police Chief Benny Dubose is the only department head who didn't see an increase, since he was just recently hired. Bland says he is happy to have presented a balanced budget to the Council tonight with no tax increases. The Council will take up the budget this Thursday.

Also tonight, the City's Civil Service Commission gained a new member, as well as a new Commission attorney.

Mayor Bland says the Council approved his nominee of Robert Hughes for Ward Three's Commissioner. That leaves the Commission short just one member of a five-member board, after the appointment earlier this month of Wally Hudnall for Ward Five. Also the Commission's new attorney is Stephen Wilson, of the Hamilton Law Firm in Meridian.