County commissioners question raises - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

County commissioners question raises

It's hard to imagine sneaking a million dollars for raises under the radar, but Wednesday at least one county commissioner said that appears to be what happened.

Commissioner John Willingham wants the money back on the table until he gets some questions answered.

The raises passed two weeks ago on the Shelby County Commission's consent agenda, which rarely gets scrutiny. Now Willingham wants to "un-pass" the agenda after hearing from his constituents.

"We're in deep ca-ca in finance, and you guys are giving a million dollars worth of raises out," Willingham said.

He said it's been a tight year, where everyone in county government has had to suck it up.

"All of a sudden we're throwing out raises," Willingham said. "Well, why are we throwing out raises at this point in time? Are we buying votes?"

The raises break down to approximately $500,000 for assistant district attorneys, $250,000 for assistant public defenders, and $250,000 at the discretion of human resources.

The last figure is what bothers Willingham, who said it is too vague. Commissioner Joe Ford agreed.

"We need to watch and make sure that $250,000 don't get away from us," he said.

The matter will be brought back to the table next week in Joe Ford's committee. Ford says he's willing to review it, but doesn't suspect foul play.

Whether there was or wasn't, Willingham said when the county spends money, commissioners should know exactly where its going.

Action News 5 will continue to follow this story.

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