• 59°

Water board changes members’ salaries

Members of the Selma Waterworks and Sewer Board have agreed to set new salaries.

Board Chairman Johnnie Leashore confirmed the move made by the board Monday during its meeting. The board made the changes to comply with a recently passed state law that sets salaries for members of utility boards, according to the sizes of municipalities.

Because the Legislature passed the law recently, we wanted to get in compliance with the law, Leashore said. It will go into effect Oct. 1, to my understanding, when we begin the 2009-09 budget year.

As chairman, Leashore’s salary will be set at $300 per meeting, not to exceed $3,600 per year. The board meets monthly for regular business, but because it can call several other meetings, every member’s salary is assured not to go above a set ceiling.

All other board members will make $200 per meeting.

The law makes no provision for a board superintendent, and the issue was not addressed during Monday’s meeting, according to Mayor James Perkins Jr.

That issue will be left up to the board, Perkins said. As far as I know, the salary will remain at $25,500 per year.

Mayor-elect George Evans, who will take office the first Monday in November, commended the water board for its work.

He said during a Rotary Club meeting Monday he had met with members of the board to discuss the salaries. Evans will step into the superintendent’s role once he takes office.

The state recommended that they do that, and they’re committed to doing that, Evans said.

The new salaries represent a drastic reduction from their reported salaries in recent years.

A July report by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts reported Leashore’s total salary as $59,609.17 from Oct. 1, 2004 through May 31, 2008. That averages out to more than $1,300 per month.

Additionally, not all salaries of board members were the same.

Secretary/treasurer Bennie Ruth Crenshaw collected $70,633.12 in salary in the same period, according to the Public Examiner’s report. That averaged to more than $1,600 per month.

The report reported a collective overpayment of nearly $132,000, with only Aubrey Vick shown as having been compensated correctly at the previously set board member salary of $800 monthly.

Leashore, however, said board members have made earlier attempts to reduce the salaries.

This board was not part of making these salaries, Leashore said. This board walked into and inherited it. the law gave us a way to set the record straight, so to speak.”