Manager's raise questioned

May 20, 2009 2:59:55 PM PDT
Raleigh officials are under fire for giving the city manager a $10,000 raise during tough economic times.Now, they may be rethinking the deal. The controversy centers around City Manager Russell Allen.

The Raleigh City Council recently voted behind closed doors to raise Allen's salary from $210,000 a year to $220,000. That's in line with other Raleigh employees. Despite a tough economy, they're not being laid off or furloughed and they are still eligible for raises.

But that hasn't stopped the public outcry against the proposed raise for the city manager. It's an outcry ringing the ears of city leaders.

"The council's not tone deaf. It can understand what's going on," Mayor Charles Meeker told Eyewitness News.

Meeker voted for Allen's raise, but says the council will look at it again.

"It's a very small amount of money in terms of thousands of dollars in a four-hundred million dollar budget, but the council wants to do the right thing in terms of appearance as well as of substance. So there will be some further discussion on it," he said.

While the city manager has recommended raises of no more than 4 percent for city employees in the upcoming budget year, his 4.7 percent raise is for this budget year. And in this budget year some city employees can get as much as 6.5 percent increase.

But unlike most city employees, Allen makes big bucks, and like the Mayor, some Raleigh taxpayers say it is all about appearances.

"I think we just need to stop and think about where we're going and the problems that we are having and just say, 'Hey, let's cut a little bit,'" Offered resident Rogerline White.

"It just doesn't make sense to give the city manager a raise with the way the economic situation is in the city," said resident Carlene Byrd.


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