Shreveport Council Calls for Full Investigation into Pay Raises
SHREVEPORT, LA - The Shreveport City Council has voted to move forward with a full investigation into how Chairman James Green went about granting hefty pay raises to the City Council staffers.
Green signed a memo back in June giving these raises out:
- Shanerika Fleming's went from $90,000 to $100,799.
- Jacqueline White's went from $99,491 to $109, 440.
- LaTonya Bogan's went from $86,081 to $96,411.
- RJ Johnson's went from $81,500 to $87,204.
- Terri Sanders's went from $52,919 to $56,624.
The City Attorney informed the council that the Chairman did not have the authority to grant these raises. Green then rescinded the raises and apologized. The council held a special meeting to take a close look at what happened. But during that meeting a move to launch an investigation failed on a 2-2 vote.
Well apparently some minds have changed. During the regular meeting on Tuesday, the Council voted 4-3 to begin an outside investigation. Councilman Gary Brooks and Councilwoman Ursula Bowman changed their minds and voted to support this effort. Brooks says he has gotten calls from many constituents who say it looks like the council is hiding something.
Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor apologized to the council staff for what they have gone through during this matter. She says "I won't vote for the investigation. The administration can make a mistake and there is no investigation. The council can turn around and make a mistake and everybody wants to investigate." She says "systemic racism is real in this city and because the majority of us are black, here it comes."
Chairman Green made some lengthy remarks before the vote. He admitted he made a mistake and he again apologized. Green told the media no member of the staff had anything to do with these raises. But he did acknowledge Jacqueline White, the council analyst, gave him information about surplus funds available in the city council budget. That's when he apparently decided to put the raises in place. He also deflected the attention of this incident to how the administration has handled other employees. He said the administration has violated the charter and nothing is done about it.
Green also made remarks about racism. He said "we as black folk ain't ever messed anything up. This country is where it is not because of black folk." He added "what you see in this city, it is not because you had a history of four blacks who messed this up."
Green also talked about a $25,000 pay raise given to Shelly Ragle, the Director of SPAR. KEEL News requested information about this from the administration.
Here Is the Statement from CAO Tom Dark:
"Earlier this month, with the Mayor’s approval, I approved an 8% pay increase of approximately $11,500 (not the $25,000 mentioned at the Council meeting) for Shelly Ragle, Director of Public Assembly and Recreation. That increase was granted after my review of department head pay showed that Ms. Ragle was significantly underpaid, not only compared to her peers but also in relation to the value she provides to the City as a whole. She is the only department head to receive a pay increase this year."
There was also mention of Tom Dark getting a monster pay raise. The CAO also responded to that notion:
"Any suggestion that I am about to receive a $25,000 pay increase is inaccurate. I have not received a pay increase since I was hired on May 1 and do not expect to receive one at any point this year. If I receive one next year, it will be in line with increases granted to other City employees."
Who Are the Most Powerful Men in Shreveport Bossier