City Council may seek AG opinion on Lenfant raise

Mayor gave executive assistant $10K raise in June

MANDEVILLE — The City Council will vote Thursday to ask the state Attorney General for an opinion on whether a $10,000 raise Mayor Clay Madden recently awarded his executive assistant Trilby Lenfant is allowed under the city’s budget rules. The raise brings Lenfant to almost $82,000 annually.

Resolution No. 21-33, introduced by District II Councilman Skelly Kreller, would request an opinion from the State Attorney General’s office on whether the raise broke City of Mandeville budget rules.

Any line item change of greater than 5% is supposed to go through a budget adjustment process, which requires council approval. However, in this particular situation the question being asked is, what constitutes an actual line item.

The budget for fiscal year 2020-21 — as adopted by the City Council under Ordinance 20-13 on Sept. 10, 2020 — is comprised of various exhibits, labeled B, C and D.

Exhibit B is titled “Job Class Detail” which lists the pay levels for each of the city’s job classifications under both General Government (10100) and Police Department (10110). The “Executive Secretary” (Trilby Lenfant) is listed as $71,782,65. The total for the General Government category in the exhibit is reported as $1,294,648.98.

But Exhibit D, which contains the so-called line items one typically associates with a budget has an entry for “General Government – Salaries” with a requested budget of $1,318,049 for 2021.

This makes Exhibit B a detail record of the “Salaries” line item in Exhibit D. Apparently the Attorney General is being asked for an opinion on which one constitutes the actual line item and hence is subject to the 5% rule.

While a $10,000 raise for Lenfant is just shy of a 14% increase on its own, when taken in context with the requested salaries for 2021 in the amount of $1,318,049 in the Exhibit D line item, the bump would barely register. The mayor has stated there are unfilled positions at City Hall and some newer hires are making less than their predecessors did, accounting for a small surplus in the line item.

The City Council voted down Madden’s staff restructuring proposal in April, killing the idea of a director of administration post, which was to have been filled by Lenfant with a $90,000 salary.

The next City Council meeting is Thursday, August 12, 2021, at 6 p.m. at the Paul Spitzfaden Community Center.

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Exhibit B of the City of Mandeville 2020-21 fiscal budget.
Exhibit B of the City of Mandeville 2020-21 fiscal budget.
Exhibit D of the City of Mandeville 2020-21 fiscal budget.
Exhibit D of the City of Mandeville 2020-21 fiscal budget.

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