No Raise For Mayor Coleman, 400 Non-Union Workers

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Mayor Michael Coleman is turning down a raise and denying pay raises to 400 employees as the city copes with a projected $80 million budget shortfall.

By eliminating raises for non-unionized workers under his authority, Coleman expects to save $400,000 next year, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported.

City officials are suggesting that layoffs will be necessary to balance the budget. The mayor is expected to submit his 2009 budget proposal to city council on Friday.

"It's a time for sacrifice for everybody, and it starts at the top," said Dan Williamson, the mayor's spokesman. "That's why the mayor will not be getting a raise this year."

Coleman's annual salary is $152,000.

His decision puts pressure on city council to turn down their own pay raises. Council members would not commit to forgo their raises at their meeting Monday night.

"At a time when the city is laying off people is it responsible for council to take a raise?" council member Charleta Tavares told 10TV News.

"I can't answer that for anyone else. I can't answer whether it's responsible for them. They know their household needs. They know what their economics are. I think it will be an individual decision by each council member," Tavares said.

Tavares said even if all seven city council members were to turn down a pay raise, it probably wouldn't restore a single job for the city.

Council will discuss the issue next week.

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