PINE KNOLL SHORES, CARTERET COUNTY - Pine Knoll Shores town commissioners have increased their own salaries by 50 percent.
In a 3-2 vote, the commissioners approved the measure at their meeting last week. Commissioners will now make $3,600 a year, up from $2,400 before.
Some said they are okay with the change. But other residents, like Pam Moren, are upset.
"I'm not in agreement with that and I need to see why they think they should be getting a 50 percent raise," said Moren.
Two of the three commissioners who approved the change, Fred Fulcher and Jonathan Broaden, are new to the board, having only served about six months. They both declined on-camera interviews, but NewsChannel 12 spoke with them by phone. They said they enjoy serving the community, but they dedicate a lot of time and effort to the job-- more than 20 hours a week. In addition, commissioners haven't had a raise in seven years.
"A lot of people haven't," said Moren. "Not that I think they shouldn't get some compensation for what they do, but I would rather see something like that put to a vote by the full time citizens in Pine Knoll Shores."
However, Pine Knoll Shores resident Beth Cummins disagrees.
"Fifty percent of $10,000-- yeah, that's a lot of money. But 50 percent of what, two or three hundred, they deserve it," said Cummins.
Moren said she acknowledges that it's not that much money. But she's more concerned with the message it sends to the community.
"Fifty percent is 50 percent," Moren said. "It's not the amount necessarily. It's the fact that they decided without the public's input on it."
Pine Knoll Shores Mayor Ken Jones didn't vote on the measure but stands with the two commissioners who voted against it. He said right now just isn't the right time for this kind of measure when there are more pressing issues at hand. He's also concerned with the message this sends to the public.
"Even though it's not a lot of money, the message is still the same. Perception is reality," said the mayor.