The Alabama State Legislature enters a second special session on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Rep. David Faulkner, who represents Hoover, Homewood and Mountain Brook, will introduce a bill regarding city council pay raises during the special session.
The bill was motivated by the Birmingham City Council’s recently approved pay raise. The raise, from an annual salary of $15,000 to $50,000, will be effective in 2017. Faulkner said the issue with this pay raise was a lack of transparency.
“They didn’t even have it on their agenda,” Faulkner said. “Well, I was really shocked by that.”
Faulkner said the proposed bill will require city councils to give 30 days of notice to the public before approving a pay raise. State law prevents councils from giving themselves a pay raise, and all pay increases will not be applied until the next council. Hoover City Council follows this statute.
“A city council may vote to change the salaries of elected officials for the next term; not for their existing term,” said Hoover City Clerk Margie Handley. “The last day for the existing city council to change the salaries for officials who will be elected in 2016 is Feb. 23, 2016.”
Faulkner said he does not believe the cities in his district would pose a problem, but he is surprised the law was not already on the books.
“None of the cities that I represent have an issue,” Faulkner said. “These cities would never do what the Birmingham City Council did. We need a state law that makes this clear for the entire state that no form of government should be able to give themselves a pay raise with tax payer’s money without giving proper notice.”
Faulkner said he believes his bill will receive broad, bipartisan support.
Along with Faulkner’s proposed bill, the legislature will also consider the state budget during its second special session. The budget must be passed to prevent a government shutdown in the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that we can get a budget done that will not take money from education and will meet the revenue needs we have in the general fund and will be a workable budget, one that we can all get behind,” Faulkner said.
The special session convenes Sept. 8 at 5 p.m.