Saturday, January 24, 2009

City Council pay raise 

Adrastos excerpts a section from the T-P Saturday politics column which reads like a pay raise "trial balloon" floated by unidentified City Councilmembers. (My guess is that Stacy Head is definitely one of the "floaters", but that's just based on the way I read the story. Explanation below.) Da Paper's weekly politics compilation is a real treasure. The writing is wry and loose, and there's often little jewels of information buried throughout.

And when I say "loose", I mean loose. I laughed my ass off when I read this sentence from the same story:

[T]here is no question [City Councilmembers'] pay is far below market rate for executives in decision-making positions, and well below what most of them could earn in the private sector.

Don't you just adore that "most"? Not all, but "most" of the Council could earn more in the private sector. Precisely how was that determined? Which Councilmembers are included in the "most" and which aren't? ... Too funny. I think it should read "most, if not all" or "many, if not all"... but "most" by itself makes me laugh. So does this part:

The low pay dates to the 1950s, when the city's mayor-council form of government was created, and when serving on the council was seen as a part-time position for men with "real jobs" as lawyers, insurance agents or business executives.

In fact, the position now eats up more than 40 hours a week for members who take it seriously.

"For members who take it seriously"... chortle! Do "most" on the current Council take it seriously?

Adrastos thinks one of the Hyphenated Cynthias is behind the pay raise trial balloon, but I think he's off base. A close reading of the article seems to indicate that the idea comes from the members who joined the council in 2006:

Shortly after the current council took office in 2006 and new members saw their bank balances start to shrink, some of them began talking about proposing a pay raise to take effect after the 2010 elections.

We're talking about some "new members", here.

Now, some members again are thinking about proposing a raise for their successors -- or, if they are re-elected, themselves.

Some members "again"... I'm assuming this refers to the same "new members" from 2006. That is: Head, Fielkow, Midura and Carter. Earlier the article stated that "several" Councilmembers are having salary considerations. So pick three of those four, and you probably have a good idea of the pay raise advocates. However, since Midura is going to face a stiffer re-election challenge than the others, and since she already voluntarily relinquished her take home car to save the city money, I really doubt that she's going to press the pay raise issue, assuming she is in favor of one.

Also, the T-P politics column informs us:

(WEDDING) FILM AT 11: The marriage of politics and media will take on new meaning this spring when state Sen. Cheryl Gray ties the knot with Patrick Evans, the former TV newsman...

Congratulations to the happy couple on their engagement!


6 comments DiggIt!


You think Batt is angling for a rematch?

You think he can do it with skeletons in his closet?

By Blogger Clay, at 8:47 AM  

I support a pay raise for council members, after all everyone else in city government has gotten one.

Perhaps it could be pegged to a significant percentage of the Mayor's (80%?)

By Blogger mominem, at 9:56 AM  

I think it would be a good issue for a mayoral candidate, promise to cut back the pay increases for top aides (who already made six figures), as well as other "excessive personnel expenses", and cut back on the million dollar plus funding for the propaganda office (I think the official name is communications department) in order to help pay the council members full time salaries. Of course, a smart opponent might counter by offering to do that to pay for parks or more police protection, but $300K wouldn't hire many cops.

In fact, the position now eats up more than 40 hours a week for members who take it seriously.

I've made my share of cynical comments about my council representative, but I'd probably even more cynical if a young councilman who is just starting his career and who has young children could devote the same amount of time to the city council as an older council member who has already raised his or her kids and had time to pay off a mortgage and build up some savings.

By Blogger bayoustjohndavid, at 1:03 PM  

I'd like to see one of the current Council Members bring it to the front.

Of course it would be electoral poison.

I'm not adverse to paying for something that works and at present the Council works.

By Blogger mominem, at 7:39 PM  

I'm totally for a pay raise for the Council. Seriously.

And if someone like Midura is asking for it, more power to the cause.

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