In a split vote, the Selma Town Council emerged from closed session this week and voted to give their outgoing town manager a pay hike.
Jon Barlow will be retiring from the Town of Selma no later than December 31st.
Barlow’s tenure with the Town has at times been controversial. When he was hired in January 2014 he agreed to move within the city limits. In February 2016 a town councilman questioned whether Barlow was living in the city limits. The manager declined to say. In a statement to WTSB News at the time, Barlow said, “At some point we all have to make decisions about balancing careers and family and I am comfortable with the choices I have made.”
A short time later the requirement he reside in the city limits was dropped from his contract.
In January 2015, Barlow survived a 3-to-2 council vote to be fired. His job performance was reportedly questioned during a 90-minute closed session in March 2016.
During a closed session in January, Barlow reportedly asked for a pay raise but was rejected. During a closed session Tuesday night he reportedly again asked for a raise.
After emerging from closed session, the board voted 4-to-1 with Councilman Tommy Holmes voting against giving Barlow a 1.5 percent cost of living increase.
Mayor Cheryl Oliver said Barlow was giving the salary increase based on his 2016 job performance. “We specifically focused on his performance. We have no idea when he will eventually retire. Retirement did not enter into our assessment,” Oliver said in an email.
Holmes said the board knew before making the vote Barlow’s day were numbered. “We had already publicly announced December would be the end of his journey with the Town of Selma and if we get a new town manager before then it won’t be that long.”
“I can’t see wasting taxpayer dollars giving him a raise since he is leaving,” Holmes added. “I was really surprised Town Councilman (William) Overby and Mayor Oliver voted for the raise. It was my understanding they were not going to vote to give him a raise. This is throwing good money after bad.”
Barlow had been making $92,920. With the 1.5 percent increase his salary will increase $1,393.80 to $94,313.80. The increase will take effect March 1st.