Lubbock City Council agreed on the city's $273 million operating budget. But they had a slight problem with one change Councilman Gary Boren proposed to the budget; not to allow the City Manager to have control over pay raises to senior management.
"The previous city manager had a management team that gave each other raises without the city or public knowing it," said Boren.
Two years ago and right before the 2003 budget was approved, Councilman Tom Martin proposed an new budget ordinance that would stop salaries from getting out of hand and that ordinance passed. "We as city council members are elected as board of directors and it behooves us to take a more active role to make sure the city is operating properly," said Martin in September 2002.
But now, Councilman Victor Hernandez feels City Manager Lou Fox should be given the power. "Where we are now, compared to where we were two years ago, is totally different. We have a permanent City Manager and a whole new crew as far as Assistant City Managers," said Hernandez.
"I don't think there's any lack of confidence. I can understand Councilman Boren's concern and I respect that. But I also know, as a matter of practice, I would always confer with the council before I would take any action," said Fox.
Hernandez, Martin, Mayor Marc McDougal, Jim Gilbreath, and Frank Morrison all agreed to give power back. Councilman Boren says his decision had nothing to do with Lou Fox as a City Manager.
Under the condition, the City Manager inform the city council of pay raises at the next council meeting. Meanwhile, Boren still feels it's a mistake to take away that ordinance, which he says acted as the tax payers safety net.
In April of 2002, four of the city's highest-paid managers received combined raises of $25,000. According to reports, those raises went unnoticed for five months.