CL – Union, Lumumba want to give city employees raises

While most expect another tight year when Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. unveils his recommended budget in the next couple of weeks, City Council members are looking to carve out room for their own ideas, including a serious discussion on pay raises for city employees.

Brenda Scott, a former mayoral candidate and president of the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees, said the city is going to have to address worker pay at some point.

The union understands that money is tight, she said. “The fact remains that the employees desperately need a pay raise.”

MASE represents about 350 city employees.

City employees last received a raise in 2008, and several attempts since then by council members and former Mayor Frank Melton were turned back.

Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba, chairman of the council Budget Committee, has renewed his argument that providing raises to the city’s lowest paid employees makes economic sense. Those employees are more likely to spend their extra money in Jackson, giving a boost to the local economy and spurring more sales tax collections, he said.