ANDERSON — The Madison County Council deadlocked on a request to raise the county’s human resources administrator’s salary by 35%.
With only four of the seven council members present Tuesday, the council deadlocked 2-2 to approve a $17,000 pay increase for Beatrice Ramey and to table the request for a month.
Councilwoman Lisa Hobbs and Councilman Steve Sumner didn’t attend the meeting. Hobbs was ill and Sumner was called out of town on a family emergency. The vacancy created by the death of Councilman Brent Holland won’t be filled by the Republican Party until Feb. 19.
Last month, the council continued a request by the Madison County Board of Commissioners to raise Ramey’s salary and that of former County Administrator Tim Westerfield by $10,000.
Ramey’s current salary is $47,951. The request was to increase it to $64,951.
Ramey proposed transferring $17,000 from the Human Resources budget for professional services and other services and charges to cover the cost of the pay increase.
Acting Council President Anthony Emery asked if the funds would be available in the future to cover the salary increase.
Commissioner Kelly Gaskill said they understand the $17,000 being transferred could not be requested in future budgets.
Emery wanted the request continued until March because there were only four council members at the meeting.
“I have been approached by numerous employees that she (Ramey) was requesting a $17,000 pay raise when they received a 1% raise,” he said.
Ramey said she has been doing two jobs since July 2018.
“I was told I would be compensated,” she said.
Emery said the council is asking employees to do more with less.
“I took on the added responsibility to help the county,” Ramey said.
Gaskill said before she took office in January 2019 there was a promise to Ramey to increase the salary.
Councilman Fred Reese said county officials are encouraged to cut costs and combine jobs.
“It’s obvious she brings a lot of assets to the position,” he said. “I told her $17,000 wasn’t enough; it should be double that amount.”
The council was told that the elimination of one position in the Human Resources Department saved the county approximately $70,000.
Reese’s motion to approve the $17,000 transfer was seconded by Councilman Jerry Alexander.
Emery and Councilman Pete Heuer voted no on the motion; a motion to continue the request failed to pass by the same vote.