Irmo leaders look at major pay raise

tflach@thestate.comOctober 4, 2013 

Irmo, SC

— Irmo town leaders are ready to give themselves a sizable pay hike.

A $3,000 raise given initial approval would increase the annual salary of Mayor Hardy King to $9,600 and of the four Town Council members to $7,200 each, effective Jan. 1.

The amount may seem large, but it would be the first raise in more than 20 years and probably will be kept at the new level for a decade, town leaders said.

“We’re due one,” King said.

The pay hike plan surfaced after no opposition materialized to re-election of council members Kathy Condom and Barry A. Walker Sr. at the Nov. 5 ballot.

“That’s a coincidence,” Condom said.

But the lack of opposition erased hesitation both about a raise and in making it effective quickly instead of delaying it until 2016, King said.

It’s the first time a pay hike won favor among leaders of the town of 11,000 residents, after other efforts for raises ranging from $1,800 to $5,000 went nowhere.

The choice of $3,000 is “what we can live with,” Walker said.

Support jelled after it became clear that the raise – a package totaling $15,000 annually – is affordable, Condom said.

The raise is about half of what members of the Lexington-Richland 5 School board that oversees classrooms in town gave themselves recently. That move drew protests that it was excessive and hidden until the last minute.

There’s never a good time for elected officials to raise their pay, King said.

“It’s a touchy subject,” he said. “People are going to complain.”

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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