Houston & Peach

Warner Robins city council members just voted to double their own salaries

The Warner Robins City Council on Monday gave final approval to an ordinance that doubles its own salary.

The council voted 3-1 to raise its annual salary from $5,000 to $10,000.

Councilman Tim Thomas cast the only opposing vote, while council members Daron Lee, Clifford Holmes and Larry Curtis voted for it.

Councilwoman Carolyn Robbins, who has been battling health issues, was absent, as well as Councilman Keith Lauritsen. Mayor Randy Toms said after the meeting that Lauritsen was recovering from dental surgery.

Their presence likely wouldn’t have made a difference as Lauritsen opposed the increase in the original vote to move forward with the change while Robbins was in favor of it.

Holmes was the leading proponent of the increase. He said the council had not had an increase in 22 years and that council members in many smaller cities in the state make more money. The Macon-Bibb commissioners, who preside over a population of approximately 152,000 people, make $15,000 annually. The population of Warner Robins is about 75,000.

The vote was approved without discussion, but Holmes and Thomas both talked about it after the meeting.

“I want to take care of employees first,” Thomas said. “At this point, it’s voted on and it’s passed, and we’ll just move on from it.”

The increase will be effective Jan. 1.

Holmes said he decided to push for it after talking to council members from other cities around the state about their salaries.

“I thought we were way behind,” he said. “Now it’s time.”

Also after the meeting, the council had a retirement reception for City Attorney Jim Elliott, who has served in that role for 34 years. Many current and former city officials were there, as well as other area leaders.

It was supposed to have been his last meeting, but it might not be. Elliott has agreed to continue working for the city on a part-time basis as a consultant while the search for his replacement continues. The council approved the agreement Monday.