Columbia City Council members voted 4-2 Wednesday to move forward with plans to pay a consulting firm $150,000 to find ways to make city government more efficient.
Council members Kirkman Finlay and Belinda Gergel voted no. Councilman Daniel Rickenmann was absent.
An investigation by The State newspaper found the salaries of some of the city's highest paid employees increased by $5 million over the past five years while the city was running multimillion-dollar deficits in its general fund.
Finlay and Gergel objected to the efficiency study, saying the city could do the study itself.