Madison Co. Commission votes to fast track employee raises

JACKSON, Tenn. — In a special called meeting on Monday, the Madison County Commission voted to speed up employee raises. Now the raises will be on the next check.

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“Before Christmas, basically,” said District 3 County Commissioner Brett Beckham.

Sheriff’s office deputies are getting a 7% raise, and all other employees are getting 3%.

Commissioners said they can afford it because they raised more money through online sales tax.

“It’s given us a little more than we thought we would have, and we were able to pass that on to the employees of the county,” Beckham said.

But the second part of the meeting is where it got interesting.

Currently, the county commission meetings bounce among places that can fit the more than 50 people.

The financial management committee recommended they hire an architect for $5,000 to look at if they can expand the space to create a large permanent meeting room.

“The county owns it,” Beckham said. “They’ve already done some preliminary to see if we can mimic city council.”

However, James Pearson said they should look at renovating Madison Academic once the school moves. Others agreed, spinning the meeting into disagreements and some blunt allegations.

“Whites go right down the line. Blacks go right down the line. We don’t get anything accomplished,” said District 1 County Commissioner Luther Mercer.

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Mercer has made similar allegations at multiple meetings now, and he stands by them.

“We’re divided,” Mercer said. “We’re not serving the taxpayers of Madison Co. We’re serving our own agenda, and that’s wrong.”

What was planned as one vote on the motion turned into four, with a compromise to look at more locations for the permanent meeting room — at $10,000 dollars, twice the original cost.

“I think everyone is trying to represent their district the best way they can,” Beckham said. “Sometimes there’s difference in opinion on how to do that.”

We asked Mercer if he is satisfied with the feasibility study of everywhere in the city.

“Yes, yes,” Mercer said. “To come up with a good place, yes.”

The commission also voted down a motion to meet virtually next month. They will instead be meeting in person.

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