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Tarpon Springs' attorney is denied salary increase

City Attorney Herb Elliott won't be getting the pay raise and new contract he wanted from the City Commission.

Mayor Anita Protos told Elliott on Tuesday that budget constraints meant he would have to continue with his current annual salary of $55,000, rather than get the $64,500 he had requested.

"I just do not feel it would be fair," Protos said.

Elliott's contract came up for discussion at Tuesday's work session because the commission had a tied vote earlier this month about whether to accept his new contract proposal.

Protos had been seen as the swing vote on Elliott's contract.

But Tuesday, Protos said the previous split vote had resolved the issue because it meant Elliott's proposal failed and his old contract would remain in place.

At the June 6 meeting, Protos and Commissioner Dudley Salley opposed a new contract for Elliott, while Commissioners Cindy Domino and Helene Pierce voted for it. Commissioner Karen Brayboy declared a conflict of interest and didn't vote.

On Wednesday, Elliott still hadn't made up his mind about the city's offer to keep him on at his current salary.

"I haven't decided yet," he said.

Under the current terms, the contract remains in effect unless Elliott or the commissioners give 30 days' notice.

Salley said he wants to give Elliott notice.

"I want him out," Salley said Wednesday.

He went on to say: "His allegiance is not to me, and I'm his boss."

But Salley acknowledged that other commissioners may not go along with his desire to fire Elliott.

Salley has criticized Elliott for some of his legal work, as well as for the time Elliott represented his wife before the city's board of adjustment, a board he often advises in his role as city attorney.

At least one commissioner defended Elliott during Tuesday's meeting.

"I still believe he's the best attorney for the price," Domino said. "I believe he's done an excellent job for this community."

Besides the pay increase, Elliott wanted to be included in the city's pension fund, with credit given for his almost nine years of service to the city.

Elliott has served as city attorney for the past three years. Before that, he worked as city attorney from 1978 to 1987, when he resigned under fire after disagreements with then-Mayor Tom Koulianos.

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