Memphis Mayor A C Wharton to take pay cut

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said he fully supports a plan by the city council to cut his salary next week by at least 4.6 percent, equal to the cut city employees received last summer.

"How could any elected official not support this?" asked Memphis City Council Chairman Myron Lowery.  "This is fair, it's the right thing to do.  It's shared sacrifice."

Critics with the Memphis Police Association said it is far from fair, given the fact that officers make far less than the mayor.

"We feel the impact a lot more than someone who makes $170,000 a year, plus we don't have expense accounts," said Memphis Police Association Vice Chairman Michael Williams.

Wharton, who is out of town on business in California, told Action News 5 by phone he did not care what union leaders think.

"I don't give two dead flies about what the unions have to say," Wharton said Thursday.

Wharton said he is willing to work with city employees who may belong to unions, but their leaders lost his respect during the election.

"What I have to say to them is the public responded to them and told them they were dead wrong, because I was elected two to one," said Wharton.  "Their candidate got whipped."

Wharton said the city charter prevented him from taking the pay cut with everyone else, so he previously gave up paid vacations and holidays instead.

"But we're all in this together, that's the key thing," said Wharton.  "I don't have police officers following me around as bodyguards.  I don't have them driving me around in a Lincoln."

In addition to Wharton, the salaries of three city judges and the city court clerk will be slashed by at least 4.6 percent next week as well.

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