Six City Employees Receive Part Of The Mayor's Salary

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By Crandall Sims

This day and age, everyone is cutting back and that includes the city of Columbia.

Ten months ago, the city asked employees to look for ways to save money through the Mayor's Incentive Program.

Starr Hockett, Administrative Fiscal Resources Coordinator, found a way to save $90,000 through cell phones.

"We lowered the plans, because they had new ones coming out. We had some with push to talk and picture messaging, and that's separate so we got rid of all that", says Hockett.

Hockett says saving money is something she lives by in her own home.

"Even with my own household, I look to save. You know, the way the economy is now-a-days you've got to do everything you can", says Hockett.

The savings don't stop at the administrative level, even the city's fire stations are using less.

Irving Salavar, a city firefighter, found a way to save more than $20,000 by using less expensive products.

"One example is, we use Windex and there's other brands out there, I don't want to mention any particular brand, but there's other brands out there that we could use that are less expensive and equally as good", says Salavar.

Tuesday night those ideas paid off. Hockett and Salavar along with other city employees received a reward for their ideas. That reward came directly from the Mayor's pocket.

"i will admit, by taking these pay cuts, I am now the lowest paid city employee", says Mayor Benjamin.

All total, six city employees were awarded Tuesday. Those awards range in value from $500 to $1,000. Officials say each idea for the incentives program does go through a process to ensure that it will in fact save money and to determine if they idea can be implemented in each department.
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