Committee

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

considers Water Board salaries

By Julian Helms

The Selma Times-Journal

The Administrative Committee of the Selma City Council will meet tonight to debate ratifying the present salaries of the Selma Water Works and Sewer Board’s board members.

The board members’ salaries, totaling $98,300 annually, compensate six board members for monthly meetings to review the administration of the Water Works and Sewer Board.

The anticipated income of the Water Works and Sewer Board for 2005-2006:

$3,905,400. Anticipated expenses:

$3,741,537.

Attorney Collins Pettaway, representing the Board, echoed Crenshaw.

Pettaway represented the Rev. Lee Goodwin in 2001 in a lawsuit against the board alleging &8220;payment of improper and exorbitant salaries and expenses of its members.&8221;

The salaries in the lawsuit represented by Pettaway in 2001 and filed in January 2004 are the same salaries he seeks ratification for now.

The paperwork filed in 2004 in Dallas County’s Circuit District Court cites &8220;directors, officers and auditors of the Board … had a fiduciary duty to use plaintiffs’ rates wisely and for the benefit of plaintiffs, and not to redirect such funds for the benefit of themselves and others. In addition, defendants had a duty to maintain plaintiffs’ rates at the lowest rates consistent with providing reasonable water and sewer service.&8221;

According to Pettaway, &8220;the law says it’s a crime to decrease the salary.&8221;

The Alabama Code of 1975 references &8220;Voluntary diminution of salary&8221; and prohibits increase or decrease during the term of election or appointment.

The code goes on to allow for decrease, provided the party prior to the decrease agrees it to in writing.

&8220; … The person filing the said instrument shall not be entitled to more compensation, salary or fees than the reduced amount thereof as shown by the terms of the instrument filed for the record,&8221; it concludes.

Fact Box:

Board Members

Chairman, William K. Hicks

$25,000

Vice Chairman, Johnnie M. Leashore

$9,600

Secretary/Treasurer, Bennie R. Crenshaw

$19,500

Director, Samuel Randolph

$9,600

Director, Lee E. Goodwin

$9,600

Superintendent, James Perkins Jr.

$25,000

Total Board Salary

$98,300