Opelousas Mayor Reggie Tatum will receive a bump in pay thanks to a 4-2 vote from the city council.
The discussion and adoption of a change to the ordinance dealing with the mayor’s salary took place during the monthly meeting.
Audience members remained split about the decision. Some believed Tatum deserved the raise, while others were appalled at his request.
Germon Morgan, part of the city’s street development team, asked the council to forgo arguments and do what was best for the city.
“We are adults and you are the cream of the crop of adults because you are sitting behind a chair which your peers elected you guys to sit. So please take that into consideration, whether monies is given or not,” he said, as the audience cheered.
Before the vote, Councilman Julius Alsandor and the mayor exchanged heated words over whether or not the raise was the right thing to do for Opelousas.
Alsandor believed, with only five months in office, the mayor did not deserve the raise.
“You ask us, the council, to vote, when we nor you have not brought anything to the city to be proud of,” Alsandor explained.
Furthermore, Alsandor said pending lawsuits could wipe out the general fund of over two million dollars.
“In essence, the city does not have a whole bunch of money to do thing,” said the councilman.
Tatum refuted the statement and said the general fund and budget for salaries were not the same.
When called to vote Alsandor said, “Emphatically no.”
The mayor furthered the discussion and reminded the council of past administrations’ pay.
“You didn’t say anything Mr. Alsandor for the past 8 years when the past mayor made $80,000 dollars. I just want what’s fair. Why all of a sudden when it’s election time, they reduced (it?) The mayor said the mayor’s salary was exorbitant. It was ok for 8 years,” said Tatum.
Former Mayor Donald Cravin’s pay was reduced during the last year of his term, but it did not take effect until the first day of Tatum’s administration.
Councilwoman Jackie Martin presented the second ‘no’ vote. She explained city workers deserved raises above all others.
Tatum was the lowest paid mayor in the state of Louisiana at $66,000 dollars. The mayor will now make $75,000 a year.