Meridian city leaders are at odds over overtime pay

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) – The city of Meridian and the city council are at odds over transfer money. The question arises as to how this affects the additional wages of workers.

The controversy began after the city council voted in February to move money from Oct. 1 to Feb. 9 for unfilled positions out of each department’s budget and into a legislative fund controlled solely by the departments themselves. council members.

“Every year we make a budget and every year it is fully funded and they manage the money within their budget. But what the council did was, well, I don’t know how they phrased it, moved it or took it, either way they got money. And department heads don’t have the money to run the programs they need to provide services to the citizens of Meridian,” said Mayor Jimmy Smith.

Ward 5 City Councilwoman Ty Bell Lindsey said the council transferred the funds to make sure the money was being used properly by departments. At the May 9 work session, Public Works Director David Hodge spoke to the board about how they ended up with the $75,000 surplus budget. And this week, the city posted a lengthy message on its Facebook page calling out the council, saying the Meridian Police Department and Public Works are feeling the effects of not being able to grant employees overtime.

“Our guys like to work late, you know, the sun is shining, it’s work time until sunset.” So it has a big impact for us. We can’t hit the grass soon enough, and you know our mission in public affairs is to promote the growth and development of the city of Meridian by providing good infrastructure services. With so many events happening in downtown Meridian, and they’re always supported in part by the public affairs staff, it’s overtime. And then every time a tree falls and crosses the road, we cut it there. Public works usually go there first and last. We are the first responders in many situations,” Hodge said.

Mayor Jimmy Smith said that with more than $1 million transferred from the department’s budget, department heads have repeatedly asked the council to put the budget amendment on the agenda. The goal is to return part of the funding. Unfortunately, their requests were denied, Smith said.

“When they first said they were going to take money, we didn’t say anything because they said we’re going to take the money and when you need it or if you need it, then we’ll give it back. And we need it. But they did not return. Apparently, we have over 200 years of experience in government, and we know what we have to do, and they’re not listening to the administration,” Smith said.

Mayor Smith said the city brought the issue to a public platform because it wanted to make people aware of what was happening.

“If we don’t talk about it in public, then people will not understand what is happening. They think I’m not doing my job or the city isn’t doing its job when it comes to the city council not putting in the money to do what needs to be done,” Smith said.

Councilwoman Lindsay responded to the post in a statement sent to News 11:

For now, Lindsey said the board will continue to ask department heads to provide the necessary funds.

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