Outgoing Commissioner Defends Employee Pay Hikes

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Pay raises for public workers are causing a stir in Madison County.

Outgoing Madison County Commissioner Jerry Craig only has a few weeks left in office, but on Monday he was able to help push through pay hikes for four of his district employees.

County commissioners voted 4-1 to approve pay hikes ranging from nine to fourteen percent for four of Jerry Craig’s district shed employees. That’s on top of two other salary increases commissioners approved last week, adding a total of $28,000 in new salary, and fulfilling part of a wishlist that was soundly rejected by Craig’s colleagues less than two months ago.

Craig’s original request that was voted down in August had more than two dozen names and $100,000 in new salary before he revised it down to fourteen names and $43,000 in pay add-ons. Craig defended his bits and pieces approach on Monday, calling it a victory for the underdog.

“If I didn’t have the right, I wouldn’t have done it,” said Craig. “Something is better than nothing. What did I get in August? Nothing. What did I get last week? Two. What did I get today? Four. And how many will I get next commission meeting? I don’t know.”

Commissioner Phil Riddick voted against Craig’s salary request, arguing that a decision on pay raises should be put on hold until Craig’s replacement takes office next month.

“I don’t think any commissioner in the last six months of his term should be giving raises of any kind,” said Riddick, who noted that Craig will only preside over one month of the new twelve month fiscal cycle that started Monday. “My issue is the payroll is being increased by a significant amount by someone who’s not going to have to live with the consequences of it.”

Jerry Craig has served as District Three commissioner since 1984, but he opted not to run for reelection this year. Democrat Jeff Cooper and Republican Eddie Sisk are the two candidates vying to replace Craig.

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