by Pam Zubeck
Political observers and at least one candidate are upset with the wording of the Council pay increase measure on the April 2 city election ballot.
The measure asks to increase pay of the nine City Councilors effective in 2015 from $6,250 a year to half the mayor's pay. For now, the mayor's pay is $96,000, which would make the Council's pay $48,000 each. But if the mayor's salary is adjusted for inflation, which it can be every four years, then the Council pay would change, too.
The matter got the attention of candidate Deborah Hendrix in District 4, prompting her campaign manager, Danny Cole, to issue this release a few days ago:
As you may remember, Deborah Hendrix, candidate for City Council District 4, spoke out early against the proposal to raise City Council salaries, which has become Issue 2 on the ballot. (See Daniel Chacon’s January 17th blog post here.)
I write today to communicate Deborah’s disappointment in the ballot measure’s wording. It would make the councilmember’s “annual salary equal to fifty percent (50%) of the mayor’s salary,” but it never tells the voter what the mayor’s salary is.
On March 9, Deborah issued the following statement: “It would have shown greater faith in the electorate to be forthcoming and say that the councilmember’s salary would be ‘equal to fifty percent (50%) of the mayor’s salary, which is currently $96,000.’ It would have been easy to include that little clause, but the authors must have decided that citizens would be more likely to vote in favor if they didn’t know how much money Issue 2 would cost. This is the kind of tricky maneuver that makes it hard for people to trust local government.”
As the person who fields messages coming into Deborah’s website, as well as the website for Keith King, candidate for City Council District 3, I can tell you that a lot of people are upset about the measure’s wording. There is definitely a story here. I hope you follow it.
Campaign Manager, Committee to Elect Deborah Hendrix
We're not sure how many is "a lot," as Cole references, but it's causing a bit of a stir. Laura Carno, who ran Mayor Steve Bach's campaign in 2011, weighs in on the matter here.
But, alas, what difference will it make anyway? Probably none. The Independent's poll of likely voters in February found little support for the measure.