Fort Smith Directors Approve Raise for City Employees, Not Mayor

Fort Smith City Directors approved a pay raise for city employees but not for the mayor on Tuesday night.

“We thought it was a good idea and evidentially we were in the minority,” said City Director Don Hutchings.

In a 4-2 vote, the board decided not to give Mayor Sandy Sanders a raise. “This time I just think it was something we don’t need,” said City Director Kevin Settle. “It’s a lot of money and it can go to other things that we can do to help the city.”

The city says the mayor has not received a pay raise in decades. Mayor Sanders currently makes $10,000 a year. Hutchings wanted to double the salary. “Second largest city in the state you know outa have a mayor that is given more than $10,000 a year,” he said.

Directors unanimously approved a 1.9% pay increase for more than 900 city employees.

“If we don’t start catching our pay plan up with other cities we’ll begin losing employees to other cities and we don’t want to see our experienced employees leave Fort Smith,” said City Administrator Ray Gosack.

The city says they have found ways to cut operating costs. Those savings will pay for employee raises. “There’s no increase in taxes or other fees in the 2013 budget,” he said.

City employees got a raise at the beginning of 2012. “Prior to that most employees went three years without seeing an increase in their pay,” said Gosack.

The pay increase for city employees takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.