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Atlanta City Clerk raise draws ire of first-responders

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Atlanta City Clerk Rhonda Johnson Atlanta City Clerk Rhonda Johnson
ATLANTA -

An Atlanta city clerk has been approved for a raise of more than $17,000, much to the chagrin of some public safety workers.  

Earlier this year, Atlanta police and firefighters waged a budget battle that resulted in a 1 percent raise for most of its workers.

Atlanta City Clerk Rhonda Johnson has gotten a $17,000 pay hike this year, and could be in line for a second raise later this year.

"It is bad timing when all of the employees in the general fund and police…with fire employees are not getting but 1 percent. Come on. Something is wrong with this picture," Gina Pagnotta-Murphy, the president of PACE Atlanta -- the Professional Association of City Employees.

Johnson began the year with a salary of $107,319. The Atlanta City Council, which sets Johnson's pay, increased it effective July 1 to $124,600. There's also an upgrade that would move the salary for the position from $132,600 at the lowest all the way up to $176,800.

Councilman Lamar Willis offered the legislation for the change, arguing that the clerk should be on par with Mayor Reed's department heads.

Union leaders say they want to steer clear of the politics between the council and mayor, but they are asking what is fair for the employees.

"The process that they went through to sign this is the process that we're asking for to be applied to the firefighters and  police officers system and the regular city employees," Stephen Borders, the head of the firefighters union.  "They are wanting to compare all of these major cities, well let's compare to where we are at firefighters. We're one of the lowest paid."

FOX 5 was unable to speak with Johnson on Friday to get her reaction.

Johnson is an employee of the Atlanta City Council, and not Mayor Kasim Reed.

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