Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland makes more than $15 an hour. So does the Director of Housing and Community Development, Paul Young. Heck, most city employees here make more than $15 an hour.
But its estimated at least 400 city employees don’t. Memphis City Councilman Ed Ford wants to change that, and that doesn’t bother the Mayor.
“We’re not necessarily shooting for $15 an hour,” Mayor Strickland says. “We’re trying to bring people up to the average, which I think would be over $15 an hour. I don’t know if we can do it all in one year, because of financial constraints, but we definitely agree with the sentiment.”
The city has done a study, the Mayor says, and there are jobs that pay less than the national average.
So they’re looking at raises, even though the Mayor has told city police officers and firefighters Memphis can’t afford to give them raises this year. He says they need to look at what he’s done for them over the past two years.
According to Mayor Strickland “It’s the total package. Pay, benefits, promotions, are all better now than they were two years ago.”
In spite of what he says, the unions are not happy with Jim Strickland. When Dr. Willie Herenton announced he would be a candidate for City Mayor next year, social media was full of union members saying Herenton always supported them.
Mayor Strickland won’t say if he’s running for another term, but listen to what he does say. “I’m looking forward to more good years ahead,” he said. “It’s too early to make any official announcement for me.”
City Councilman Jamita Swearingen was with the Mayor at an Orange Mound event. She refused to talk about the $15 minimum wage, she said, until she hears more information from people Tuesday.