Records the INDY received last week indicate that 86 of the city of Raleigh's 3,809 employees make more than $100,000 a year. And in municipal government, like everywhere else, the rich are getting richer. Most of the city's top-paid employees recently received sizable raises.
The salary of city attorney Tom McCormick, for instance, jumped from $232,405 to $259,000—an additional $26,595, a more than 10 percent increase. City manager Ruffin Hall will make $7,826 more this year, bringing him up over
$231,000. Assistant city managers James Green, Marchell Adams David, and Tansy Hayward will take home an extra $10,825, $10,000, and $1,600, respectively. (They'll earn $180,285, $167,500, and $161,600.) And police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown will make $16,682 more than she did last year, bumping her up to $160,000 even.
The average city employee, meanwhile, makes $51,996 a year. And nearly 8 percent of the city's workforce—three hundred employees—earns $31,200 a year or less. That sum works out to $15 an hour for full-time work, the rate often considered a living wage.
Thanks to the General Assembly, Raleigh can't pass a citywide living-wage ordinance, nor can it force its contractors to pay decently. (Perversely, state law requires cities to go with the "lowest responsible" bidder, which encourages contractors to be cheapskates.) But it can pass a living-wage ordinance for its own employees. That's what Wake County did for its workers last year, setting a floor of $13.50 an hour.
At the Raleigh City Council, the topic hasn't come up.