Miss. AG questioning Davis' $35,000 stipend | News
SOUTHAVEN, MS- (WMC-TV) – Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is questioning embattled Southaven Mayor Greg Davis and the $35,000 stipend he received to run the city's water operations.
In the response, the attorney general's office writes that they'll answer questions for future guidance, but have no opinion on what's already taken place in regards to Mayor Davis' salary.
However, they did offer some comments in case a similar debate comes up in the future.
Southaven Alderman Ronnie Hale said the city wanted to know if stipends were legal.
"We were questioning the stipends, first of all the utility. Was that a legal stipend to receive since he's the head of every department? He's not just the head of a single department to get extra money from," Hale said.
The $35,000 was one of three stipends Davis tacked on to his annual salary of $145,000.
Hale said Davis' current base salary already makes him one of the highest paid elected officials in Mississippi.
While Davis was on leave in January, Mayor Pro-Tem Greg Guy eliminated the $35,000 stipend.
"Those are, in my opinion, benefits that are set aside for our employees and by state law the elected officials are not considered employees, so we were trying to justify whether these were legal or not," Hale said.
Davis has maintained his salary and any stipends were approved by Southaven Aldermen.
"The stipends themselves were not necessarily approved individually," Hale continued. "The problems we've had is that they were included in the overall budget."
Since Davis already received money from the stipends, the attorney general says he won't give an opinion on past actions, only on future guidance.
"The letter we got from the attorney general does not justify us reversing our decision but also it doesn't justify us taking the other stipends away," Hale told Action News 5.
The opinion goes on to state that for future reference, both the mayor and alderman's salaries should not be arbitrary and unreasonable.
"We're trying to figure out what's legal and all. If we want to pay the mayor a $187,000 salary then I believe that needs to be his salary, not something that looks like a hidden bonus," Hale said.
A spokesman for Attorney General Jim Hood said they don't typically comment on released opinions.
Mayor Greg Davis told me his legal team is reviewing the Attorney General's response and hopes to share his opinions next week.
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