Word has been going around North Little Rock that Mayor Pat Hays wants a hefty salary boost. Any truth to that?
Boost yes, hefty not so much, says Alderman Murry Witcher, and not until a 2 to 3 percent raise for city employees has been enacted. He hopes that will happen in April.
Hays, who could retire at half his current pay of $90,000, has suggested he should make more, Witcher confirmed. Hays’ counterpart in Little Rock, Mark Stodola, is paid $160,000 a year. Witcher denies whispers that Hays wanted a 50 percent raise. A 25 percent increase, “if it is going to occur,” Witcher says, would be more appropriate. That would bring Hays’ salary to $112,500 (and would raise his retirement pay accordingly), but Witcher said “no amount” has been talked about, and stressed that “nothing is on the table” for now.
If Little Rock should be a benchmark for mayoral pay, what about police officers? The union has called for a raise of about $6,000 per officer to bring pay in line with Little Rock’s to stem a rise in resignations from the force. That would cost over $1 million a year, a sum Hays has said the city can’t afford.
UPDATE: Hizzoner says he would not accept a 25 percent pay raise "this year." If the City Council agrees to give employees a 2 to 3 percent raise, he'd like one, too, but that's it. But "nothing is further from the truth" that he's asked for more.
Hays acknowledged "chewing the fat" with folks about his salary, which he said at one time was the highest for any mayor in the state. And when he talked to the firefighters and police about their desire for parity with Little Rock, he said he told them, "Amen to that," given what Mayor Stodola and City Manager Bruce Moore are paid (Moore also gets $160,000).
"God bless Murry Witcher," he added.