The long-awaited salary compensation study, as well as the election of a new vice mayor and the hiring of a downtown director were key topics at the Jackson City Council agenda review meeting Thursday evening.
The salary compensation study, which was proposed earlier this year in order to address retention and hiring issues city-wide, has been anticipated for months and was included as a total $2.5 million line item in the city’s 2023 budget.
“The council approved the salary compensation study to make us more competitive in the market, so we’ve been working with a consultant for the past several months,” Jackson City Mayor Scott Conger said previously.
Read the full city budget here: City of Jackson FY 2023 Budget
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According to Conger, the plan has been completed and will be presented by the consultant at Tuesday’s meeting.
The budget line item for the raises is around $1.9 million, with an additional $500,000 for employee benefits.
After the presentation, the council will vote on whether to adopt the plan.
Some concern was expressed at the meeting from councilmembers about whether the plan took into account the staffing levels of the city, which has seen its fair share of hiring difficulties in the past few months, and about the clarity of the changes.
“I think my hesitation is not whether we should get raises or not, but rather the process and lack of information,” said councilmember Ross Priddy. “I don’t have a full understanding of what’s about to happen and what’s being implemented.”
Vice mayor elections
The election for vice mayor—who is elected via city council vote—will be held on Tuesday, with District 7 Councilmember Marda Wallace expressing interest in the position.
Currently, Councilmember Paul Taylor of District 6 serves the position, which he was elected to in July 2021.
“I think she’d do a good job,” Taylor said at the agenda review meeting.
Downtown director position
The council will also be voting on the creation of a new position for a downtown director, at the cost of $60,000.
The position, according to Taylor, would be “instrumental” in the continuing development of downtown Jackson.
“Recently, downtown Jackson has been going through a lot of changes,” he said. “Jackson Downtown Development Corporation was kind of the primary contact for downtown, but they’ve gone through some staffing changes and such. I came in about nine months ago and helped them clean up their operation—through them, I reached out to The Co, from my experience as the former chair of the organization.
“What I saw was a maxed-out staff that really couldn’t handle all the things we asked of them,” he said. “So I talked to The Co, and looked at a collaboration with them. Through that … I have been working to reestablish JDDC as a sub-component of The Co.”
Taylor said the partnership was an obvious choice, given Jackson’s trend towards small business revitalization lately.
“This seemed like a good partnership, as the primary focus of downtown development in recent years has been entrepreneurship, and attracting small businesses to downtown where they can grow and fill vacant store-fronts,” he said.
“Imagine having someone wake up every day with the goal of helping downtown Jackson? We need that.”
The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, in the Jackson City Hall. The meeting can also be livestreamed from the City of Jackson's Facebook page.
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This article originally appeared on Jackson Sun: Salary study, vice mayor elections to be focus of July City Council meeting