Years since the positions have received a pay increase, City Council’s Human Resources Committee will soon decide whether to increase the pay for the mayor and council members.
The committee briefly discussed the matter at its Nov. 3 meeting. Committee Chairman and Councilman at Large Dan Bucci said it was a discussion item only and the other members should take some time to think about it and come up with questions.
The mayor’s salary, $82,000 a year with a car allowance that comes to a total of $91,000, hasn’t changed in almost a decade, Bucci said. By the city’s charter, council cannot change the mayor’s salary during a term, he said, but it can set a new salary for the next term. If council doesn’t act soon, the salary will remain the same for the term starting in 2016.
“If we do nothing, it will be at least 12 years,” Bucci said.
Stating he was in favor of considering changing the salary, he suggested that when comparing how much other cities pay their mayors, they should keep in mind that other cities may have separate safety and economic development directors as well as a mayor or a city manager.
In an interview, Mayor Greg Zilka said the position should pay enough to attract talented individuals who can oversee a $15 million budget and who have management experience.
“I’ve not been in a management level in the private sector, but my guess is for the time requirement and the duties, that $82,000 is low,” he said.
The job of being mayor is rewarding, he said; he enjoys much of what he does. However, along with receiving the mayor’s salary, he said, he does draw a pension as well, which allows him to live a lifestyle greater than the mayor’s salary alone would.
The Human Resources Committee also briefly discussed council’s salary. Councilman at Large John Shondel said council’s salary is no different than the one belonging to the mayor or an entry-level position. Having council receive an artificially low salary doesn’t make council members more electable or nobler, he said.
“To be paid properly is nothing to be ashamed of,” he said.
He requested that the council clerk research the pay levels of comparable city councils and that they all take into account the number of meetings held and committees they have.
Council last approved a pay increase for itself in 2008. Council members currently receive $9,500 a year, while the council president receives $11,500.