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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Golden Meadow town clerks' pay raises spark debate

Golden Meadow town clerks' pay raises spark debate

Golden Meadow's mayor says a raise of more than $10,000 a year for the town's clerk is justified, but the sole council member who voted against calls it excessive and ill-timed.

Mayor Joey Bouziga proposed the 17.5 percent increase for Town Clerk Jamie Liner, which the council approved Oct. 3.

Only a few administration workers require specific council approval to receive a raise. Assistant Town Clerk Trixie Allemand received a similar percentage raise, but that did not require council approval.

Liner has been with the town for 21 years, Allemand for 23.

Liner’s raise equals about $10,640 per year, which brings her salary to $71,400.

The Town Council voted 3-1, with one member abstaining, to approve the raise. Here's how members voted:

For: Priscilla Mounic, Lindberg “Bap” Lorraine and Willis Toups.

Against: Jody Cheramie.

Abstained: David Adams.

Bouziga contends the raises are merit-based.

“One mess-up can cost us more than that because if you don’t follow the rules, you get penalized,” Bouziga said in an interview. “Since I’ve been there 16 years, we’ve had a third-party audit, and we’ve never had a write-up.”

But Cheramie argues it’s a bad time for raises because of the oil bust that has hit the local economy hard.

“It baffles me that we’re even doing this,” Cheramie said. “This is taxpayers' money. What are we telling people when we do this? We wonder why people don’t like government and this is why.”

He added that if raises are to be done, then it should be a smaller raise for all town employees. The police clerk and receptionist did not receive raises while other field positions did.

Bouziga said it’s important to keep good people in the office.

“We watch our dollars in town,” Bouziga said. “We’re very conservative, but due is due is due.”

-- Emma Discher can be reached at 448-7636 or Follow her on Twitter @emmadischer.