The Clarion-Ledger, 3/24/9

Jackson City Council members were confused Monday over whether Mayor Frank Melton’s administration was trying to slash spending or raise employees’ salaries.

All city department heads were required to turn in a plan by 5 p.m. Monday outlining how they would cut 3 percent from their budgets. About half of the department heads had offered a plan by 4:45 p.m.

Meanwhile, Melton’s administration asked the council’s budget committee to vote on more than $1.2 million in pay raises for public works employees.

“There’s some real contradictions there,” Council President Leslie Burl McLemore said before voting. “This is absolutely a classic example of backward thinking.”

Melton, who was not at the meeting, said later that he would withdraw the raises request until the economy improves. He first called for the pay increases in November.