Special Report: Public Officials’ Salaries

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Jeff Matthews, Alexandria Town Talk

It’s no surprise that Alexandria has the highest-paid mayor in Central Louisiana — the city is more than twice the size of any other municipality in the area. A look at other Cenla municipalities and how much their mayors make, though, has some surprising results. For instance, Marksville is the seventh-biggest municipality in the area with 5,481 people, yet its part-time mayor was paid only $6,260.

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In municipalities of more than 1,000 people, only Campti (pop. 1,054) paid its mayor less. Other small-town mayors had some eyebrow-raising salaries. Vidalia, with a population of 3,990, paid its mayor $81,242 — about $5,000 more than Pineville, which is nearly four times its size. Salaries are taken from the most recent yearly audits by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office. Populations were taken from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The large majority of the salaries cited are base salaries and do not include other forms of compensation (a few smaller municipalities list only total compensation on their audits, with no breakdown of how much of that is base salary). Other forms of compensation —including things like health insurance and retirement plans, the use of vehicles and phones and travel expenses — can make up a large part of a compensation package.

In Fiscal Year 2016-17, for instance, the city of Natchitoches spent nearly as much on benefits, allowances and other compensation for its mayor ($81,605) as it did on the position’s salary of $90,565.

By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

In light of this information, the Times requested salaries and benefits for City Government, Parish Government and School Board department heads and board members. All complied promptly with the information.

Note that benefits and/or retirement are a lump sum. Benefits are a compilation of one or more items. Insurance costs vary depending on whether the employee pays a portion of their premiums, if it is for the employee only or a family plan.

Figures are based on information provided by each entity.

Parish Government

Parish President Rick Nowlin earns $83,072.52 annual salary, plus $5,150.50 retirement benefits and $9,809.52 insurance. His total salary and benefits is $104,955.25.

The following figures include salary, retirement benefits and insurance.

Parish Treasurer: $97,876.08.

Executive Director of OCS/Head Start: $100,269.84.

Director of Public Works/Solid Waste: $83,920.

Director of Planning and Zoning: $89,024.51.

Building Maintenance: $74,878.36.

Library: $99,369.29

City Government

The following figures include salary and benefits.

Finance Director: $125,892.33

Community Development Director: $117,125.68

Planning and Zoning Director: $103,743.98

Fire Dept. Chief: $110,293.16.

Police Dept. Director: $124,061.74.

Purchasing Director: $115,464.25.

Recreation Director: $80,018.50.

Public Works Director: $105,772,74.

Utility Director: $112,694.66

Councilperson at Large: $11,070.62.

Councilpersons: $8,417.76.

Mayor: $92,934.40 salary and $33,456.38 benefits. Total: $126,390.78.

Chief of Staff: $115,464.25 total.

School Board Director of Finance Richard Foshee provided a pay scale of all board employees (See chart at right). He stated Where a person falls depends on the years of experience and degree where required. For example a supervisor with 10 years experience and a Master’s Degree can earn $65,431 while the same position with a Doctorate Degree earns $68,955. Directors with the same experience and degrees earn $67,431 and $70,955 respectively. The pay chart tops out at 30 years experience. A supervisor with a Doctorate degree can earn $80,413 at 30 years and a director with 30 and a Doctorate earns $82,413.

School Board members make $7,800/year with the president receiving $8,400/year.

The above positions, and others, are public record. They are paid through tax dollars. All figures reflect gross, not net income. Vehicle, travel and cell phone allowances as well as position related reimbursements are not shown in these findings.

While those figures were researched, they vary widely among job title and would simply consume too much space to print. The information is available in each of their budgets.