Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle issued this press release Friday:
With regard to decision to veto the Mayor and Council pay raise approved by City Council at their Sept. 12 meeting last night.
“I hereby Veto Ordinance no. 19-769 pertaining to the annual salary for Mayor and City Council.
As stated, while I deeply appreciate the intent of Council, I have said I am satisfied with my salary and knew what it was when I went into public service. My focus remains on our 2,100 employees and the job I was elected to do as Mayor.
The Council and I also have a philosophical difference on the job of City Council and how they should be compensated. I previously had the honor of serving as a Council Member. A Council Member should strive to be involved in the community, to bring constituent ideas to City Hall and provide an additional voice to the needs of their districts. I respect that Council Members deserve remuneration to offset hours away from their full-time jobs. This increase changes the intent of the position of citizen/lawmaker. Paying a City Council Member $44,000 to $49,000 a year is more than a City firefighter’s or a school teacher’s annual salary.
Again, this is a difference in ideas and beliefs. I think increasing Council salaries will make the role become more of an employee position than one as representative of the people.