Tupelo’s municipal salaries in line with state

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

Southaven has the highest-paid mayor in the state with his $130,000 salary, but the chief executive of tiny Bassfield earns the most per capita despite his meager $18,000 annual paycheck, according to the 2010 Municipal Salary Survey released this month by Mississippi State University’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government.
The survey compared government pay for top officials in nearly every community in the state. For those not included in the most recent annual survey, the Daily Journal looked at the 2009 study to compile data for this story.
It found that two-thirds of Mississippi mayors work part-time, including that of Brassfield. Of those who work full schedules, the average salary was $56,171. Residents paid anywhere from about fifty cents to fifty dollars annually to support their chief executive’s pay.
Jackson’s mayor earns the state’s second-highest salary at $120,000 a year. But divided among its 173,514 residents, it’s one of the lowest per-capita – just $0.69 per person per year.
Brassfield has only 315 residents, making its mayor’s per-capita paycheck the state’s highest at $57.14 per person.
Tupelo’s mayor earns $92,242, according to the survey. Its the state’s fifth-highest mayoral salary for the seventh-largest city.
Its City Council pay, however, ranks No. 16 in the state at $16,932. That’s behind council salaries in smaller communities like Leland, Caledonia, Hazlehurst, West Point and D’Iberville.
Vicksburg aldermen earn the state’s highest pay at $64,827 per year – with each of that city’s residents paying the equivalent of one Starbucks coffee to foot the bill.
In the small Delta community of Lyon, however, each of its 431 residents could fill the gas tank on a mid-sized car for the amount they spend on their town policy makers, who earn $18,540 apiece.
The average alderman or council person’s salary in Mississippi was $7,040, the survey revealed.
“Our salaries are in line,” said Tupelo Chief Financial Officer Lynn Norris. “They’re not too high nor too low. They’re kind of in the mid-range.
Other positions for which salaries were compared include city clerks, police chiefs, fire chiefs, and the directors of public works and parks and recreation. Tupelo’s salaries figured among the top 10 for each category except that of city council and city clerk, where it came in at No. 16 and No. 12, respectively.
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Tupelo’s clerk earns $67,500 per year versus $94,817 for the highest-paid equivalent in Gulfport. Oxford, the only other Northeast Mississippi city to make the top 10 list in that category, came in at No. 7 with a clerk salary of $71,231.
The highest per-capita clerk salary came from Sallis, a small town in Attala County whose 114 residents shell out $184.53 each for their clerk’s $21,036 paycheck.
The average city clerk’s salary in Mississippi was $31,757.
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Tupelo stayed near the middle or bottom range of each top 10 list except for that of parks and recreation director salary, where it ranked No. 2 statewide with a paycheck of nearly $75,000. Only Biloxi came in higher, by about $2,500.
The average salary for that position was $41,538, but some communities paid their parks and recreation directors as little as $550 per year for what likely is a part-time post.

emily.lecoz@journalinc.com

TOP 12 MAYOR’S SALARIES
CITY POPULATION MAYOR SALARY COST/RESIDENT
1. Southaven 48,982 $130,000 $2.65
2. Jackson 173,514 $120,000 $0.69
3. Olive Branch 32,750 $116,708 $3.56
4. Biloxi 50,644 $115,898 $2.29
5. Tupelo 34,211 $92,242 $2.70
6. Gulfport 72,800 $92,184 $1.27
7. Holly Springs 8,012 $87,500 $10.92
8. Horn Lake 24,669 $82,000 $3.32
9. Hattiesburg 50,000 $81,890 $1.64
10. Vicksburg 26,454 $81,304 $3.07
11. Clinton 26,400 $80,000 $3.03
12. Ocean Springs 17,255 $79,797 $4.62

TOP 12 COUNCIL SALARIES
CITY POPULATION COUNCIL SALARY COST/RESIDENT
1. Vicksburg 25,454 $64,827 $2.55
2. Leland 5,502 $31,170 $5.66
3. Biloxi 50,644 $29,648 $0.59
4. Jackson 173,514 $27,000 $0.16
5. Caledonia 1,500 $24,000 $1.60
6. Gulfport 72,800 $23,192 $0.32
7. Southaven 48,982 $23,175 $0.47
8. Olive Branch 32,750 $20,000 $0.61
9. Ocean Springs 17,255 $19,200 $1.11
10. Lyon 431 $18,540 $43.02
11. D’Iberville 8,000 $18,303 $2.29
12. Hazelhurst 4,400 $18,120 $4.12

TOP 12 CITY CLERK SALARIES
CITY POPULATION CLERK SALARY COST/RESIDENT
1. Gulfport 72,800 $94.817 $1.30
2. Horn Lake 24,669 $81,500 $3.30
3. Madison 18,000 $81,216 $4.51
4. Clinton 26,400 $75,501 $2.86
5. Pascagoula 25,502 $74,987 $2.94
6. Vicksburg 26,454 $73,336 $2.77
7. Oxford 19,000 $71,231 $3.75
8. Olive Branch 32,750 $70,054 $2.14
9. Hernando 14,800 $71,231 $4.81
10. Gautier 16,306 $68,000 $4.17
11. Tupelo 34,211 $67,500 $1.97
12. Hattiesburg 50,000 $64,920 $1.30

TOP 12 PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTORS SALARIES
CITY POPULATION PW SALARY COST/RESIDENT
1. Madison 18,000 $102,294 $5,68
2. Gulfport 72,800 $88,784 $1.22
3. Biloxi 50,644 $86,578 $1.71
4. Oxford 19,000 $85,613 $4.51
5. Louisville 7,006 $85,500 $12.20
6. Vicksburg 26,454 $83,185 $3.14
7. Holly Springs 8,012 $82,000 $10.23
8. Jackson 173,514 $74,786 $0.43
9. Ocean Springs 17,255 $72,115 $4.18
10. Tupelo 34,211 $71,027 $2.08
11. McComb 13,337 $70,907 $5.32
12. Clinton 26,400 $69,211 $2.62

TOP 12 PARKS & RECS DIRECTOR SALARIES
CITY POPULATION P&R SALARY COST/RESIDENT
1. Biloxi 50,644 $77,147 $1.52
2. Tupelo 34,211 $74,999 $2.19
3. Jackson 173,514 $74,786 $0.43
4. Gulfport 72,800 $74,047 $1.02
5. Madison 18,000 $72,100 $4.01
6. Corinth 14,054 $64,580 $4.60
7. Pascagoula 25,202 $64,247 $2.55
8. Oxford 19,000 $63,287 $3.33
9. Clinton 26,400 $61,530 $2.33
10. Hattiesburg 50,000 $58,405 $1.17
11. D’Iberville 8,000 $57,998 $7.25
12. Brookhaven 13,361 $56,166 $4.20

TOP 12 POLICE CHIEF SALARIES
CITY POPULATION POLICE SALARY COST/RESIDENT
1. Gulfport 72,800 $90,152 $1.24
2. Vicksburg 26,454 $90,000 $3.40
3. Madison 18,000 $81,216 $4.51
4. Hattiesburg 50,000 $80,000 $1.60
5. Tupelo 34,211 $78,677 $2.30
6. Southaven 48,982 $77,500 $1.58
7. Biloxi 50,644 $77,147 $1.52
8. Jackson 173,514 $76,000 $0.44
9. Clinton 26,400 $73,470 $2.78
10. Starkville 23,647 $72,380 $3.06
11. Pascagoula 25,202 $72,244 $2.87
12. Columbus 25,000 $72,100 $2.89

TOP 12 FIRE CHIEF SALARIES
CITY POPULATION FIRE SALARY COST/RESIDENT
1. Jackson 173,514 $94,688 $0.55
2. Biloxi 50,644 $85,142 $1.68
3. Madison 18,000 $81,216 $4.51
4. Gulfport 72,800 $80,417 $1.10
5. Pascagoula 25,202 $78,892 $3.13
6. Southaven 48,982 $77,500 $1.58
7. Tupelo 34,211 $73,759 $2.15
8. Olive Branch 32,750 $70,054 $2.14
9. Ocean Springs 17,255 $65,783 $3.81
10. Hernando 14,800 $64,039 $4.33
11. Hattiesburg 50,000 $63,310 $1.27
12. Oxford 19,000 $63,287 $3.33

AVERAGE SALARY OF MISSISSIPPI’S FULL-TIME MAYORS: $56,171
AVERAGE SALARY OF ALL MISSISSIPPI MAYORS: $24,853
AVERAGE SALARY OF ALL MISSISSIPPI COUNCIL MEMBERS $7,040
AVERAGE SALARY OF ALL MISSISSIPPI CITY CLERKS: $31,757
AVERAGE SALARY OF ALL MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTORS: $41,316
AVERAGE SALARY OF ALL MISSISSIPPI PARKS & REC DIRECTORS: $41,538
AVERAGE SALARY OF ALL MISSISSIPPI POLICE CHIEFS: $38,991
AVERAGE SALARY OF ALL MISSISSIPPI FIRE CHIEFS: $40,322

HIGHEST PER-CAPITA MAYORAL SALARIES
CITY COST/RESIDENT
1. Bassfield $57.14
2. Liberty $44.23
3. Tunica $42.67
4. Byhalia $42.49
5. Shuqualak $32.92
6. Blue Springs $29.16
7. Ackerman $27.49
8. Guntown $25.60
9. Soso $23.75
10. Noxapater $21.48
11. Carrollton $21.33
12. Collins $18.01

HIGHEST PER-CAPITA COUNCIL SALARIES
CITY COST/RESIDENT
1. Lyon $43.02
2. Georgetown $22.37
3. Shubuta $18.60
4. Caledonia $16.00
5. Sallis $15.79
6. Gloster $15.10
7. Smithville $12.05
8. Tunica $10.67
9. Ashland $10.40
10. Cruger $10.18
11. Noxapater $10.02
12. Bassfield $7.62

HIGHEST PER-CAPITA CITY CLERK SALARIES
CITY COST/RESIDENT
1. Sallis $184.53
2. Golden $137.19
3. Falkner $108.48
4. Tishomingo $88.88
5. Pittsboro $81.60
6. Noxapater $77.33
7. Rienzi $76.86
8. Snow Lake $75.52
9. Marietta $72.00
10. Bassfield $66.67
11. Pachuta $65.67
12. Sumner $64.86

HIGHEST PER-CAPITA PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR SALARIES
CITY COST/RESIDENT
1. Sallis $156.84
2. Golden $144.88
3. Falkner $137.79
4. Seminary $133.33
5. Woodland $132.06
6. Lyon $116.09
7. Braxton $113.09
8. Snow Lake $104.98
9. Pachuta $104.84
10. Tishomingo $101.59
11. Pittsboro $98.02
12. Georgetown $97.53

HIGHEST PER-CAPITA PARKS & REC DIRECTOR SALARIES
CITY COST/RESIDENT
1. Enterprise $57.93
2. Shuqualak $32.03
3. Liberty $31.15
4. Tunica $23.11
5. Iverness $17.35
6 Monticello $16.29
7. Florence $15.44
8. Quitman $14.50
9. Collins $12.10
10. Newton $10.87
11. Saltillo $10.79
12. Morton $10.26

HIGHEST PER-CAPITA POLICE CHIEF SALARIES
CITY COST/RESIDENT
1. Tishomingo $95.24
2. Sumner $93.37
3. West $87.27
4. New Hebron $83.22
5. Courtland $79.83
6. Golden $77.62
7. Soso $74.69
8. Puckett $71.19
9. Byhalia $70.27
10. Walnut Grove $60.33
11. Liberty $53.08
12. Shuqualak $51.60

HIGHEST PER-CAPITA FIRE CHIEF SALARIES
CITY COST/RESIDENT
1. Byhalia $52.41
2. Maben $25.90
3. Monticello $20.46
4. Lucedale $17.37
5. Goodman $16.61
6. Poplarville $16.58
7. Collins $14.71
8. Mantachie $13.67
9. Belzoni $13.64
10. Iuka $13.47
11. Itta Bena $12.40
12. Durant $12.34