Suburban mayor paid more than Mississippi governor

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If Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant wants a bump in pay when he eventually leaves the governor’s mansion, maybe he should consider running for mayor of Southaven.

According to records obtained by Mississippi Watchdog, the mayor of Southaven, Republican Darren Musselwhite earns a larger salary ($150,000) than Bryant ($122,160). So does city administrator Christopher Wilson, who makes $138,000 per year.

Musselwhite, who ran as a “disciplined fiscally-minded leader,” didn’t return a call for comment.

Southaven, a suburb of Memphis, has a population of more than 48,000 and is the third-largest city in Mississippi.

In comparison, Mayor Tony Yarber of the state’s largest city, Jackson, makes $120,000 per year. Biloxi’s AJ Holloway is second with a salary of $115,898, according to data from the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.

Steve Hopkins, a Southaven native and founder of the DeSoto County Conservative Coalition, said even a near-complete change of the city’s leaders couldn’t alter the city’s fiscal course.

“When Greg Davis started, he did a lot of good things, but just like any elected position, time in office tends to corrupt the best of people,” Hopkins said. “I really have no idea why the new mayor and aldermen didn’t change course completely.

“You would think that when all the aldermen, except one, were voted out and the mayor was overwhelmingly voted out that that would be a signal to them that we expected a change in a new direction, but we haven’t gotten that.”

Davis was Southaven’s four-term previous mayor who lost his re-election bid in 2013. He was sentenced in July to 30 months of prison and 7 1/2 years of probation after he was convicted on one count of making false representations to defraud the government and one count of embezzlement over his purchase of a vehicle and the use of city fuel pumps to refuel his personal vehicle.

According to data provided by Ballotpedia, several mayors nationwide make more than their governors. Among those:

  • Edwin M. Lee, the mayor of San Francisco, makes more ($246,000) than California Gov. Jerry Brown ($173,987, a difference of $72,013).
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti takes home $232,000 per year, $58,013 more thanBrown’s salary.
  • Annise Parker, the mayor of Houston, makes more ($209,000) than Texas Gov. Rick Perry ($150,000, a difference of $59,000).
  • Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York earns $225,000 per year, which is $46,000 more than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ($179,000).
  • Kasim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, earns $184,000, which is $44,661 more than Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal‘s annual salary ($139,339).