Bigger Bonuses For Gaffney Politicians Voted Down -

Bigger Bonuses For Gaffney Politicians Voted Down

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The council voted no to doubling Christmas bonuses for itself and for city employees. The council voted no to doubling Christmas bonuses for itself and for city employees.


Updated: June 3, 2013 at 6:36 p.m.

Gaffney City Council members won't give themselves bigger Christmas bonuses after all.  It's a move that comes after harsh backlash from the public, and tough questions from the media.

The council voted no to doubling Christmas bonuses for itself and for city employees.

Instead, it looks like city workers will get a two percent cost of living raise.

The council had initially wanted to bump bonuses from $500 to $1,000 for itself and for employees.

Democrats carried Monday evening's vote to remove Christmas bonuses altogether, in favor of raises for workers.

But Republicans voted against the measure because they said the budget still includes a tax hike on property.

The budget needs an additional vote before final passage.  That will happen June 17. 

Updated: June 3, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.

Gaffney City Council will meet Monday afternoon to vote on the upcoming budget which includes a proposal to double Christmas bonuses for city employees and the council members.

City council says instead of a 2% cost of living raise for employees, it would be cheaper to double the annual bonus from $500 to $1,000.

But some have taken issue with the politicians including themselves in the taking of bonuses, including many who live around town?

"What does that say to the people of Gaffney," asked Bernadette Swayngim.

The three republicans on council are expected to come out in opposition of the proposed raise for the elected officials, while the four democrats haven't said what they'll decide.

The meeting begins at 5:00 p.m. at city hall.

Graeme Moore will be at the meeting and update this story as it develops. And for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Graeme on Twitter or on Facebook.

Update, May 22nd, 2013, 3:47 PM:

A proposal to double Christmas bonuses for some Upstate politicians is now meeting some resistance from Republicans on Gaffney's City Council.

7 On Your Side reported last week the council is considering doubling this year's Christmas bonus from $500 to $1,000 for all city employees and for themselves, the elected officials.

We couldn't find any other Upstate city or county government outside of Cherokee County and Gaffney that gives itself any sort of bonus.

On Wednesday, Republican Councilman Billy Love told our Graeme Moore he and his two fellow Republicans think bonuses for politicians should be left out of the budget.

That leaves four councilmen still undecided.

The council meets again to discuss and vote on the budget on the first Monday in June.

May 17th, 2013:

This coming year's budget for the city of Gaffney denied requests from police, fire and sanitation, but the mayor and councilmen want to double their Christmas bonuses -- something they say would actually cut costs.

Instead of giving all city employees a two percent cost-of-living raise, the city is considering increasing the holiday bonus from $500 to $1000 as a way to save money.

Elected officials in Spartanburg, Greenville and Anderson counties and cities do not receive Christmas bonuses.

Doubling bonuses for all employees (including the politicians) would cost the city about $153,800 as opposed to about $188,000 if the city were to give the cost-of-living raise and keep the bonus at $500.

Collectively, the politicians' bonuses would increase from $5,025 to $10,050, which includes raises for the city administrator, his secretary and the director of human resources.

The politicians already receive an annual salary from taxpayers which range from an average of $6,484 to just under $9,000 for the mayor.

When reached by phone for comment, Mayor Henry Jolly said he fully supports the proposed increase, explaining the "public servants" deserve a bonus for their hard work.

Jolly called the bonuses a "longstanding tradition in Gaffney," and said if things get financially tougher throughout the year, the council could always vote to suspend the raises.

The budget still needs a couple more votes by council before it is officially enacted on July 1, the day that marks the official beginning of the coming fiscal year.

The city's finance director said the council chose to cut vehicle requests from the police, fire and sanitation departments as a way to make up for a projected budget shortfall of roughly $300,000.

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