I normally don’t comment much on municipal affairs but the issue of pay increases for city council that will come up Monday night bothers me no end and proves in my mind that those advocating it are in it for the money.
I covered city council for about 30 years and of course pay hikes were always an issue at this time (before the next election). In the mid-90’s council was hung up on pay increases and wanted some way to justify them in relation to other communities our size. A group of citizens (which included Hughette Burroughs, who was later to become a member of council) spent months checking out the pay rates for mayor and council, comparing them to communities our size. When the matter came to council the rates of pay were approved and we were told the pay was similar to other communities.
The important part to the exercise was that future pay increases were to be adjusted to the cost of living so that sharp increases as those proposed Monday would not be necessary. This council is considering something that should not even be on the table. Council salaries were examined and increases equal to the cost of living have been given every year. Nothing more needs to be said or done.
And one more thing…have many people in the community received a pay increase? Even one tied to the cost of living? I doubt it unless they belonged to a strong union.
Council members may also want to take the job situation in the community into consideration. There is one report that the city gained 700 jobs in the last year and lost 600. That number may be correct, but how many of those replacement jobs were part time vs. full time? How many were minimum wage vs. a living wage? There was nothing said of that in the story. Again, another good reason to keep the increase to cost of living.
I ask council to prove that I am too cynical and refuse any increase greater than the cost of living. Better yet — shock the hell out of me and freeze salaries for the next 3 years (lol — that won’t happen).
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