Lamar supervisors receive raise; Forrest Co. to vote in January

By HASKEL BURNS,

The Lamar County Board of Supervisors has voted to accept a 3 percent pay raise that was approved earlier this year by the Mississippi Legislature, while the Forrest County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next month whether to accept the same measure.

Lamar County supervisors voted 5-0 Thursday to accept the raise, which will become effective January 1. The measure – which the Legislature approved for every county throughout the state – will bring board members’ annual salaries from approximately $44,700 to $46,041.

“Supervisors in the state have not had a raise since, I want to say, 2004 or 2005,” Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said. “I think for what they do and the pay they get, they’re underpaid. So I’m glad to see them get an increase, because it’s a demanding job.”

In addition to the supervisors’ pay raises, increases were also improved for tax assessor, justice court judges, constable, and circuit clerk for Lamar County.

David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, said the board will probably vote in January whether to accept the raise. The increase, which Hogan is in favor of, would be the same as that accepted in Lamar County.

“I’ve been on the board 12 years, and we haven’t had a raise since I was elected,” Hogan said. “We try to give a little cost-of-living raise every couple of years, 3 to 5 percent, to our employees, and the supervisors haven’t had an increase in at least 12 years. So the Legislature approved us a cost-of-living raise, and I feel sure the board will pass it.”

Forrest County District 5 Supervisor Chris Bowen said he also would be in favor of the raise.

“The job is pretty much a full-time job – it’s not as part-time as some people would think it is,” he said. “The amount of work that we have to do over the course of the week is pretty large, and it goes on at night, on the weekend, and on the holidays. Nights, weekends, holidays, storms, and even church, we’re always on the job.”

Forrest County supervisors also are expected to vote on the raises for tax assessor, justice court judges, constable and circuit clerk.