By Ray King

Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington plans to ask the City Council to approve a salary increase for her choice of police chief.

Washington on Tuesday said Robert Jones, who is currently police chief in Kingsland, Georgia, said he would accept the job at a salary of $115,000 annually.

Appearing on Deltaplex Radio, Washington was asked about reports that although the city is 10th or 11th in population statewide, salaries for city officials including herself are 25th to 30th when compared to similar size cities.

Washington went on to say that she realized the situation needed to be fixed but the problem was that the city had no money, describing the budget as “flat.”

As Mayor-elect, Washington was approached by John Berrey, Chief of the Quapaw Tribe who wanted to build a casino in Pine Bluff. Washington told him she couldn’t do anything at that time because she had not taken office and suggested he get back in touch when she did.

Since the opening first of the Annex and now the casino, Washington said the city’s financial situation has improved.

Earlier in the interview, Washington made the point that she alone has the responsibility of hiring a police chief and repeated it when asked about the opposition.