CLARKSDALE, Miss. — The mayor and Board of Commissioners of Clarksdale, Mississippi, voted to give themselves hefty pay raises last month, sparking upset from a former city mayor.

John Mayo, who served as Clarksdale’s mayor from 1986 to 1989, is outraged current mayor Chuck Espy, along with the city’s commissioners, voted in June to raise their salaries substantially, increasing the mayor’s salary to $122,421.92 and the commissioners’ salary to $46,650.

The figures represent raises of $36,000 dollars and $20,000 dollars respectively.

“The way they voted on this stinks like rotten meat. That’s all I can say,” Mayo said. “That money could be taken to hire four new policemen or give all the policemen on the force a $4,000 a year pay raise. I mean is it, . . . duh? It’s a no-brainer.”

Mayo has started a petition, with about three hundred names so far, to urge the mayor and commissioners to change their vote.

“The petition just says, roll back your raise to where it was January 1 of 2021,” Mayo said.

He realizes the petition has no legal standing but says citizens have the right to let their feelings be known.

“But it’s letting the Board know that we’re upset,” Mayo said.

The mayor and board of commissioners also voted to increase salaries for city employees and department heads ranging from $2,600 to $5,000.

But Mayo’s complaint is with the huge pay raises going to the top five.

“It is a show of arrogance,” Mayo said. “It is a slap in the face of every citizen of Clarksdale.”

Hundred and forty employees will also get raises. Espy sent WREG a text this afternoon, saying in part the raises are recognition for service during the pandemic.