By Alexa Epitropoulos | [email protected]
City council voted at its Tuesday legislative meeting to create an ad hoc city council compensation study committee.
City Manager Mark Jinks recommended that the committee be composed of four members
with experience in government policy-setting, business or government management or organizational governance and that one of the members be a former city council member.
The new committee would bring its recommendations in front of city council before its June recess. City council’s annual salary is $27,500, while the mayor’s annual salary is $30,500.
Council voted to create the study committee by a 6-1 vote, with Councilor Paul Smedberg dissenting. Councilor Tim Lovain suggested discussing council compensation in November.
“Not only has it been 14 years since pay has been examined, but, in the last 30 years, it was raised only once. It really is overdue for examination, especially looking at comparable jurisdictions,” Lovain said.
Councilor John Chapman said looking at compensation is important in order to encourage more individuals who might not be able to run otherwise due to financial concerns.
“As we all know, we live in a very high-income area and a high-cost area as well. So for a lot of members of our community, they cannot make the career sacrifice to serve in a position like this,” Chapman said. “Making elected office [compensation] comparable to other jurisdictions have … They’ve allowed other members of the community that might not have the resources to serve and sacrifice parts of their career to be able to serve their community.”
Smedberg said he was dissenting because council must be viewed as a service to the community, and not necessarily pursued because of monetary compensation.
“One thing that has come up is the fact that this should not be solely about compensation. Whether one runs or doesn’t run for city council or board, it’s about service and how you want to contribute back to the community,” he said. “It shouldn’t be just about annual [renumeration] one gets at the end of the year.”