SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport City Council President James Green apologized to residents and members of the city council for approving pay raises for staffers saying he was trying to do a good thing for hardworking people.
Green called the staff members by name who received the raises saying they were very important, great workers. Calling the pay raises which skipped the legislative process as outlined by the Shreveport City Charter “a sin of omission.”
“I was unaware that I needed the whole council. At some point, yes, I was going to tell everybody, but that point hadn’t got to that point,” Green said as part of his statement.
Green said he reviewed the budget and approved the raises on June 29. This meant that staff members had increased for at least two paycheck periods.
“Because of a good act that I was doing, now their business is in the street. Now it appears they gave themselves a raise and that is not the case,” Green said.
Green brought with him paperwork showing that he approved the raises as well as another that he must submit to HR to rescind the raises.
Shreveport City Council staffers reportedly received pay raises that were not approved by the council according to a statement issued by District G Councilmember Ursula Bowman.
“I was totally unaware of the recent salary increases unilaterally given to members of the city council staff,” Bowman said in a statement on Monday. “After reading section 4.12 of the city charter it appears the council, as opposed to an individual council member, has the sole authority to fix or increase the salaries of the city council staff. Since the council, as a whole, never authorized the salary increases, I feel strongly the salary increases are improper and violate section 4.12 of the city charter. Therefore I feel compelled to vote to rescind the improper salary increases and seek reimbursement of any salary increases received by members of the council staff.”
Bowman’s message came after eyebrows were raised about the salaries of the clerk of council and other members of the Shreveport City Council staff.
In February, the previous clerk, Kendra Joseph abruptly stepped down stating her professional priorities and the city council’s priorities were not aligned. In her resignation letter Joseph said of members of the council, “My skills and abilities have been severely underutilized; instead, I have been undermined, disrespected, and used as a target as you fight amongst yourselves.”
Council President and District 7 Councilman James Green announced Tuesday morning that he will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the matter.
The Shreveport City Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m.
According to the public notice provided by the city, the meeting agenda includes two resolutions, the first will immediately rescind the salary increases. The second will authorized the council to launch an investigation.
Councilman Grayson Boucher said he hopes that the second resolution will be passed because he questions who signed off on this raise and who in HR did not sound an alarm.
“Do we need to be giving 23% raises while we have a broken infrastructure, over 50 murders, police officers are having to work 3-4 jobs, and firefighters are having to work 3-4 jobs just to make ends meet? My answer is no,” said Boucher.