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Email from Marion mayor asks council to approve raise outside of public vote

The Perry County Herald has obtained an email forwarded to Marion’s City Council by Mayor Dexter Hinton regarding the requested raise for City Clerk Laura Hinton. In it, Hinton asks the council members to approve the raise outside of an open meeting.

“This email is to request that the clerk’s salary be increased to $65,000 yearly at Monday, July 18th meeting. In the bible, God said he will reward us for our good deeds. It is also said a person should have their flowers while they are able to appreciate them. I think this approval is well overdue and shows much appreciation in respect of the governing body. The clerk has exceeded so many expectations. With the governance of this council, the sky is truly the limit for our community. The position holds so many hats. As of now, the clerk position covers HR, city finances, insurance, litigation, payroll, council agenda, IRS, CARES Act funding, ARPA funding, emergency management, IT, PR, community engagement, etc,” the email begins.

“Council this is my recommendation. If you feel some community backlash let us stand together for what is right. I will accept a letter or email with your support of this proposal. If the attorney gives approval from those documents I will move to institute this request without bringing it to the table on Monday,” Hinton wrote. “If you feel some community backlash let us stand together for what is right.”

The email, which is dated July 13, was sent to Marion’s city council members, the city clerk, and the city’s attorneys ahead of the council’s Monday, July 18 meeting.

At that meeting, the raise was on the agenda only as a “proposal,” and Hinton asked the council for a vote on the matter but did not publicly elaborate on what the vote would have been for. That request failed for lack of a second. The council voted at a later meeting to give raises to the city’s hourly workers. That raise did not include the City Clerk position.

Alabama’s open meeting laws require that deliberation of public business by elected officials, particularly the spending of public money, be conducted in open meetings.

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