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City council addresses concerns over recent raises in Clarksdale

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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CLARKSDALE, Miss. (WMC) - A large crowd gathered at the Clarksdale, Mississippi City Council meeting Monday night to protest pay raises the mayor and city commissioners approved for themselves.

The raises were approved June 14 and the highest at the top is 36,000 more a year for Mayor Chuck Espy, 20,000 more for city commissioners, $5,000 for department heads, and $2,600 for city employees.

The city says the raise is justified by the hard work and dedication city employees exhibited during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not everyone agrees.

“When you blur the lines of trust and decide you deserve to be paid more for your troubles, you no longer serve the public,” said Clarksdale citizen John Mayo. “You are taking the first step on a journey to becoming a selfish, self-serving politician.”

“My intent, everything that I have to offer that God has given me is to try to save this place. That’s what I’m trying to do. Now, I may be your wrong messenger, but people in this city put me here twice,” Espy said.

Espy talked to the audience about saving the city’s finances during his time in office.

A vote by the city council Monday night allows them to keep the pay boost. The raises make Clarksdale leadership among the highest paid elected leaders in Mississippi.

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