SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Friday in a special-called meeting, the Selma City Council found a solution that would allow them to pay all city employees.
The council unanimously voted to open a line of credit “up to $400,000” in order to fill in the gap between the amount the city had in its general fund and what it needed to pay employees. However, after the meeting adjourned, Selma Mayor Darrio Melton met with a handful of other city officials. He told WSFA 12 News shortly after that they learned they would not be able to open the line of credit, so they decided to move money from “another account" so employees could get paid on time.
Melton said he did not know which account the money came from and referred WSFA 12 News to the finance department, where a representative failed to disclose which account the money came from.
While the source of the funds is still unknown, it does mean that all weekly, bi-weekly and monthly employees will be paid Friday by midnight.
At about 4 p.m., employees started collecting their checks from city hall. Some said they found incorrect amounts on their check, but that the city fixed the issues quickly once they brought them back.
“I’m just glad the employees are able to get paid. This would affect people’s livelihood. I’m just happy for the employees,” said Selma City Council Ward 5 Representative Samuel Rudolph.
“Today is a great day for the city of Selma. It shows, when you work together, what you can accomplish,” said Selma City Council President Corey Bowie. “Our employees are happy, and once again, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of teamwork.”
Melton also said employees should not see a difference in their pay since the city won’t have to pay employees deductions until next week. Melton said the city is hoping to use the sales tax revenue, that’s also expected to come in next week, to pay those deductions on time.
However, while Melton said he is grateful the city was able to pay its employees, he plans to meet with the council to discuss more revenue options, in addition to upcoming layoffs, to help avoid this from happening again. He said, as the city’s finances sit now, they could see this same issue next month. Melton told the council, during the meeting, that if the city does not pay employees to meet Alabama Department of Labor guidelines, the city would be fined about $1,900 per employee. He told the council that a representative from ADOL told him that if it continues to be an issue, the city needs to “tell people to stop coming to work.”
Melton said he and the council are on one accord about finding a solution.
Thursday, WSFA 12 News reported that the city would be unable to meet its payroll obligations for the week, which meant that none of the city workers - a total of 277 including the mayor - would be paid.