A spokesman for Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office confirmed Tuesday that the administration is in the process of converting some appointed positions to ones under the control of the Mobile County Personnel Board.
City spokesman George Talbot said administration officials have asked the personnel board for help in determining job descriptions for, at least some, of the more than 100 positions Stimpson has appointed during his time as mayor. Talbot did not confirm exactly how many positions they were looking at.
The announcement comes roughly two weeks after the Mobile City Council publicly raised concerns about the salaries paid to these employees hired outside the so-called “merit system.” The positions account for about $6 million in salary, according to information provided by Stimpson’s office through an open records request.
“It’s good management to constantly be looking at the workforce,” Talbot said.
James Barber, as executive director of public safety, has the highest salary on the list at $150,000 per year. Several employees, including George Talbot, as senior director of external affairs; Paul Wesch, as executive director of finance; and Florence Kessler, assistant city attorney, are paid roughly $125,000 per year.
Jeff Carter, former director of the Bloomberg Innovation Team, makes $118,000 per year as the city’s chief innovation officer. Terrence Smith, current director of the mayor’s innovation team, takes home $100,000 per year. Presiding Municipal Judge A. Holmes Whiddon makes $101,000 per year. Thirteen additional employees are paid at least $100,000 per year, including Police Chief Lawrence Battiste, who makes $120,000 per year.
Former presiding Circuit Court Judge Charles Graddick makes $100,000 as a senior judicial adviser and council members take home $19,800 each per year. Mayor Stimpson makes $89,000, according to the list.
Laura Byrne, who serves as deputy director of communications, takes home $50,000 annually.
While a lot has been made of the administration’s spending on salaries for appointed positions, Talbot pointed to the cost savings associated with a reduction, through attrition, of about 500 employees. Despite savings of about $25 million, Talbot said city services have not been impacted.
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