Columbus City Council meeting gets heated over closed door pay raises

Columbus City Council meeting gets heated over closed door pay raises

Passing the buck and involvement in a conspiracy are just some of the accusations flying at Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and other council members on Tuesday during a heated Columbus City Council meeting.

This all stems from accusations that pay raises were granted to different city employees in a closed-door executive session.

While the salaries of multiple directors in Columbus have returned to their previous rate, the executive session has since stirred some distrust and claims of wrong-doings.

"To me, and to everyone out there, this is nothing but backdoor politics," said one Columbus resident addressing the board.

Columbus residents had the opportunity to weigh in Tuesday about an August, closed-door session of City Council that ultimately started the process of raising salaries of some city department heads, in an attempt, the mayor says, to get more employees receiving fair and comparable paychecks.

The controversial situation happened out of the public's eye. Not during a normal budget session, but behind closed doors.

"To most people, it seems like it's just a raise or just a monetary increase, but actually what it was, was an attempt to try and get people on a systematic formula for their raises," said Tomlinson.

During Tuesday's city council meeting, board members also had the opportunity to voice their concerns and confusion over the wording used during that closed-door meeting this summer which led to those raises going into effect temporarily, before the increases got cut.

Tomlinson said despite the debates over what the wording meant, it was a mistake.

"It's awfully complicated, but the bottom line is it shouldn't have happened, we've reversed it," Tomlinson said. "I'm thankful for that, and for the input we had today, to discuss it so the citizens could hear this and understand a little bit better about what's going on."

The transcript obtained by News Leader 9 states councilor Berry "Skip" Henderson was absent during that executive session.

He spoke out Tuesday addressing his concerns as well. Board members say they'll be addressing those possible pay raises in upcoming council sessions during budget proposals and negotiations.

You can view the documents here.

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