LUCEDALE, Miss. (WKRG) – Many employees for the City of Lucedale received a pay raise with the start of the new fiscal year in October.

The board of aldermen looked at raising pay during work sessions throughout the summer after continuous turnover in a few city departments. In some cases, employees left for similar positions in other local governments.

Public Works lost at least half a dozen employees over the last year. Director Tammy Cochran told the board in August she received four phone calls from potential applicants in one week, none of whom were interested after learning of the $9.50 starting pay.

Numerous police officers also left the force over the last year. 

City Clerk Laura Maples drafted numerous pay raise calculations for the board to see how much the city’s general fund could afford to boost salaries.

Ultimately, the board voted 4-1 to update the city’s minimum wage from $9.50 to $11 per hour. Alderman Jimmy Redd voted against the measure, citing his desire to increase the pay to $12.

Starting pay for police officers with certain training and qualifications was raised from $15 to $17 per hour. Most other city employees, including department heads, received a 50-cent to $1 per hour pay increase to remain competitive and fair with the starting pay raise, the board said.

According to the most recent data compiled by Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute and records requests from WKRG to neighboring municipalities, Lucedale’s police officers are now among the highest paid compared to surrounding and similarly sized Mississippi cities.

The public works director and police chief pay ranks average among the surveyed cities while general laborer pay at the new minimum wage remains in the bottom third.

City (County)PopulationPublic Works DirectorLaborerPolice ChiefPolice Officer (Entry-Level)
Gautier (Jackson)18,471$65,000$22,922$62,400$33,633
Moss Point (Jackson)13,570$70,000$22,000$72,092$30,210
Semmes (Mobile, AL)5,209Not given$27,040$80,000$36,400
Waynesboro (Wayne)5,043$60,000$29,120$61,155$33,735
Wiggins (Stone)4,289$42,546Not given$55,913$25,152
Iuka (Tishomingo)3,028$51,878$29,224$51,878$29,669
Verona (Lee)3,019$48,972$38,480$38,000$28,392
Lucedale (George)2,934$51,126$22,880$56,742$35,360
Ruleville (Sunflower)2,877Not given$17,160$43,000$21,500
Collins (Covington)2,586$39,974$29,120$57,654$31,500
Quitman (Clarke)2,323$55,661$27,248$50,960$35,506
Leakesville (Greene)1,200*$41,600$24,960N/A*N/A*
Beaumont (Perry)951$42,500$9,900**$41,675$29,000
*This is an estimate of the Leakesville population not including state prisoner population. The town no longer retains a police force; it contracts with Greene County for law enforcement patrol.
**General Laborer positions are not designated as full-time or part-time in the Stennis Institute survey data. This amount is an outlier compared to all other position salaries.

Lucedale’s mayor and board of aldermen did not receive a pay increase in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. Mayor Doug Lee is the highest-paid part-time mayor among the 13 surveyed municipalities. Lucedale aldermen salary is the second-highest.

2019 data from the biannual Stennis Institute survey list the mayor’s salary as $12,743, just over half of the current total. Lucedale aldermen made $11,100 in 2019, $6,000 less than in 2022.

City (County)PopulationMayorAldermanCity/Town Clerk
Gautier (Jackson)18,471$16,200$15,000$72,800
Moss Point (Jackson)13,570$75,000*$11,558$62,500
Semmes (Mobile, AL)5,209$52,000*$12,000$45,000
Waynesboro (Wayne)5,043$18,000$8,400$50,086
Wiggins (Stone)4,289$54,800*$9,585$40,889
Iuka (Tishomingo)3,028$19,000*$8,400$45,000
Verona (Lee)3,019$13,320$6,300$40,800
Lucedale (George)2,934$24,600$17,100$51,126
Ruleville (Sunflower)2,877Not given$350***$26,500
Collins (Covington)2,586$68,000*$19,200$63,000
Quitman (Clarke)2,323$40,000*$6,000$51,979
Leakesville (Greene)1,200**$9,600$6,000$42,484
Beaumont (Perry)951$8,400$250***$28,000
*Mayor is listed as full-time. All others are part-time.
**This is an estimate of the Leakesville population not including state prisoner population.
***This amount is an outlier compared to all other position salaries. Some municipalities may have reported monthly stipends instead of annual salaries.

Full list of City of Lucedale employee salaries: