Vicksburg Mayor Flaggs proposes pay raises for city employees

Published 3:29 pm Thursday, August 19, 2021

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. wants to increase employee pay starting with a proposed 5-percent raise for firefighters and police officers.

“I’m going to make a recommendation, and I know how we’re going to do it, that firemen and police officers get a 5-percent across-the-board raise and every other employee get a 3-percent raise,” Flaggs said at the start of a Thursday morning budget meeting on capital improvements.

“I think we’ve got a way to raise the minimum wage for police officers,” he said. “Give me all the numbers, a No. 2 pencil — I don’t need an eraser — and I’ll show you how to get there.”

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After the meeting, Flaggs said the proposed 5-percent raise would include only civil service employees in the two departments and would not go to employees who recently received merit pay raises.

Flaggs said he has been watching city finances “and we’re getting progressively conservative and we’re saving more money and providing the same quality service. We’re running city government at less cost.”

If he is unable to give a 5-percent raise, Flaggs said, “we’ll lower it. The worst-case scenario is everybody will get a 3-percent raise.”

He said he hopes the raises will serve as an incentive for city employees to stay with the city, especially in the public works department.

“We can’t hire equipment operators and truck drivers,” Flaggs said.

“We’re having people quit every day,” Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said. “We had two people quit yesterday (Wednesday). We can’t find anybody; I don’t know what we’re going to do. We need truck drivers, we need equipment operators, we need laborers but we can’t find anybody. Nobody wants to work for the city. It’s sad.”

The problem, Van Norman said, is money.

“We have good benefits but what we don’t have … the pay’s just not there. They can make more working for a private contractor,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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