City leaders likely will delay voting Tuesday on creating Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington's proposed crime-prevention director.
"The mayor is going to ask for a delay," Judy Thomas, his executive assistant, said Monday. She said the mayor wants to make sure the proposal is properly designed and presented.
Among those who have questioned the measure is Councilor Glenn Davis, who has said he thinks the salary range of $63,208-$96,179 is too high. The money would come from a 1-percent sales tax voters approved last summer. Seventy percent of the tax revenue is devoted to public safety.
It would take six votes of the 10-member council to approve the crime prevention position.
Business, government and other civic leaders on the Mayor’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Intervention recommended a crime prevention director after more than five months of study.
With a budget of $931,859 for fiscal year 2010 and up to $2 million beyond that, the office of crime prevention would coordinate programs with community groups and other organizations such as the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department, Muscogee County School District, public safety departments and other government agencies.
The commission recommended the director focus on recreation, education, drug and alcohol prevention and intervention, employment and jobs and community policing.
Davis said he could support the program, but not the pay grade: “I believe this person needs to come in much lower," the District 2 councilor said last week. "I cannot support the ordinance that’s being put before me as it stands."
Thomas said Davis' questions were a factor in seeking a delay on the vote, but not the sole factor.
A delay would mean the ordinance may not come up for a vote again until Aug. 25.
Councilor C.E. “Red” McDaniel said he could go along with a reduced salary. He also supports the work of the crime commission. “I don’t see anything wrong with the position the way it’s spelled out,” McDaniel said. “I think they’ve done a good job in trying to get it together.”
Councilor Julius Hunter said he also supports the plan. “The alternative is to do nothing and that is not an option,” he said.
Councilor Evelyn Turner Pugh last week said residents want programs to reduce crime, but there is no rush: “I don’t think we need to rush into it."