Tupelo mulls raise for HR head

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Despite a proposed citywide salary freeze, one municipal department head could receive a raise after at least one elected official called her current pay scale “unfair.”
Human Resources Director Cassandra Moore, the city’s sole minority department leader, earns roughly $58,400, according to Tupelo budget records. That’s nearly $13,000 more than her 2011 salary but $20,000 to $30,000 less than her mostly white, male counterparts.
“I don’t see this being fair,” said Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings, one of two minorities on the City Council.
“Yeah, $50,000 is good money, but it’s not fair if the rest of them are making $70,000 or more,” he said.
The discussion surfaced Thursday at a municipal budget session during Moore’s FY2013 departmental financial request. She had not asked for a raise for herself or her small staff.
After Jennings broached the topic, though, Moore said that her assistant director should be included in any such consideration.
“It’s not just about me,” Moore said.
The same issue had surfaced in prior years’ budget sessions, and Moore’s salary had increased as a result.
But Jennings said it’s still out of line with the other department heads.
“I think we do need to look at this seriously,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis, the council’s only other minority. “It’s a big difference.”
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. explained that Moore’s position wasn’t originally that of a department head, which is why her salary started out substantially lower. When she was promoted to that role, however, she did receive a raise.
The council decided to obtain and compare salary data from other municipal HR managers to determine whether Moore’s current rate is out of line.
Tupelo must adopt its FY2013 budget by Sept. 15. It goes into effect Oct. 1.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com