The city of Manchester is making progressive changes. As the downtown square undergoes a facelift, so is the city's charter.
And in an effort to upgrade the city's charter, the six-member Board of Alderman approved a change that raised their own compensation pay, and one alderman is outraged.
"Ethically, I didn't think it was right for myself to vote a raise for myself," said Alderman Cheryl Swan.
The compensation pay for the aldermen will increase from $250 per month to $850 per month.
The mayor's compensation will increase from $800 per month to $1,600 per month.
It's a move lifelong Manchester resident Tory Perry questions.
"I don't think it's the best thing that could've happened. I think there are much better reasons to use that money throughout the city of Manchester," Perry said.
Swan says she thought the original plan was to increase salaries but at a lower amount.
"I have the minutes from the meeting to prove that we said that it would happen for the next elected officials. And, again, the amounts that I remembered were $500 and $1,200 for the mayor," she said.
But later minutes showed the proposed changes were $650 for the aldermen and $1,600 for the mayor, still lower than the $850 per month stated in the actual charter.
"I admitted that I missed it. I missed the change in the charter, and I had asked for the motion to carry with a discussion about rolling the compensation and to change it back to where the raises did not affect any of us," Swan said.
Only two other aldermen sided with Swan, resulting in a tie vote. The mayor could've broken the tie but decided to abstain.
"No, I don't see anything wrong with it. I'm not trying to do it to get money. You know, they all sit there and went over everything that was changed in that charter," said Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman.
Norman said the aldermen previously voted on the changes unanimously, to which Swan conceded.
"Each one of them got a draft of every one of these. Every one of them did. They had 45 days to change something. Nobody changed something," Norman said.
The board made numerous changes to the charter under the recommendation of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, which helps regulate city charters and laws.
MTAS compared Manchester to other cities with comparable factors, such as population and job requirements in making the recommendations to improve the charter.
The charter must be approved by the state legislature before taking effect.
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