MCS Security Director makes thousands more than Memphis Police Director

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis City Council member was outraged to find the Chief of Security at Memphis City Schools makes more money the Director of the Memphis Police Department.  Now, there are calls for the city's school system to open up its budget process to the City Council.

According to public records, MCS Chief of Security Gerald Darling, who oversees 200 employees, earns approximately $167,000 per year. Meanwhile, Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin, who oversees nearly 3,000 employees, earns just over $120,000 per year.

"It defies logic and common sense," Memphis City Council member Shea Flinn said Thursday. "One of them is making a higher salary than the other, with less employees and less responsibilities."

Flinn discovered the difference, which he found upsetting considering that the city is cutting city police salaries.

"We're cutting their salaries over here," he said. "In another tax payer body, we have people making more, and that didn't sit right with me. I think it's wrong."

By law, the Memphis City Council must approve Memphis City Schools' budget, but council members cannot make any changes to the budget.

"We are prohibited from having a voice," Flinn said. "We can scream about it, but we don't have a vote or opinion that matters on the matter."

Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash declined an interview about the salary disparity, but a Memphis City Schools attorney released this statement:

"Recent comments regarding Chief Darling's salary appear to be another diversionary tactic by some council members to direct attention away from the council's abrupt, unwise and illegal decision to cut the district's funding in 2008."

Memphis City Schools says the district welcomes the opportunity to defend its budget before the council.

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