SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - Several City of Selma departments were closed Wednesday as employees protested being overworked and underpaid, according to Mayor Darrio Melton.
According to a letter from city employees to the mayor’s office, the employees of the public works department and several others are absent or on vacation. The letter states the employees are asking for better wages, better equipment and additional employees to be able to do their jobs efficiently.
Melton says he received the letter Wednesday morning and believes the situation is urgent.
Melton confirmed the following departments were closed Wednesday:
- Public Works
- Tax and Licensing Department
- Building Inspector
- Clerk’s Office
- Planning and Development
Melton said the city council has misled employees by promising to increase wages.
“Every budget that has been presented to the council that [sic] would increase wages, but the council has refused to pass,” Melton said. “We are still operating on a budget from the previous administration.”
Melton said the employees feel like the city council doesn’t value them and doesn’t take what they do for the city seriously.
Melton said there is money available in the budget to increase wages and hire employees, but the city council is not willing to move forward and work with the executive office.
“This is causing chaos in our city,” Melton said.
Melton said citizens are going to have to demand more from the people they elect to run the city.
“I am urging the council to act immediately and meet the demands of city employees,” Melton said in a letter to residents.
In 2018, the city laid off 68 employees. Because of the layoffs, $2 million was left over in the general fund.
“Even if the council took that $2 million, that would be sufficient enough to justify the pay increases and wages the employees asked for,” Melton said.
It isn’t about having the money, Melton said. Melton believes politics is keeping the council from passing a budget which would include the increased wages.
Melton says he has reached out to the president of the city council and hopes a special called meeting to address these issues will be held by the end of the week.