Some Jones County commissioners are questioning how their administrator and his assistant got more than $100,000 in raises.
Three weeks ago, commissioners first discussed whether to fire their top officials -- administrator Mike Underwood and his assistant, Margie Tyson.
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Minutes from an August meeting said some commissioners cited anonymous complaints put in a county suggestion box and "rumors, innuendos, insults and chaos."
Commissioner Daylon Martin later said their jobs were never on the line, it was just blown out of proportion.
But now, the real reason came out in another Jones County meeting and as 13WMAZ's Judy Le tells us, it all came down to money.
County Administrator, Mike Underwood, started his job seven years ago at a salary of about $58,000.
This year, he makes just under $86,000. That's about a 45-percent increase over seven years.
His assistant, Margie Tyson, started five years ago at almost $28,000. And today, she makes just under $36,000. That's almost a 25-percent increase in five years.
In a commissioner's meeting Tuesday, the board reviewed how and why Underwood and Tyson received raises.
Martin said it was one of the reasons why both of their jobs were being questioned in early August.
"So this was what all this was about? This was the reason why I was put through sheer hell?" asked Tyson.
Martin said it was about more than raises and salaries. It was about finding a way to standardize the pay scale.
That's when he addressed the entire room: "2009 to 2010 were raises given to employees? Did anybody here receive a raise? 2010 to 2011 Did we receive a raise?"
One man said he received a 1-percent raise.
Martin said in response, "That's part of the issue. It's not consistent."
Commissioner Tommy Robinson and Underwood said Martin was"stirring the pot" and bringing up old news.
"I feel like you are making accusations and insinuations to individuals and separating them and segregating them and making us feel very small," Underwood said.
In a year, almost all employees on the county roster were given raises.
The difference between their new and old salary ranged from no raise to the largest, at Tyson's almost $13,000.
That's when Martin brought in the significant jump in Underwood's salary.
"In 2012, he [Underwood] had $77,495 and now he makes $82,000 when the rest of the county did not have a significant raise. How is it that the cream of the crop were able to do that?" he said.
The commissioners are requesting more time to study the pay
scale. They said this will be brought up in a later meeting for further discussion.