At their meeting Tuesday night, the Santa Clarita City Council voted 4-1 to raise their salary by $103.73 per month, from $1,728.84 to $1,832.57 by July 1, 2014.
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The raise would come to average of three percent per year, resulting in a total six percent salary raise, but still in compliance with the state Government Code, which allows only a five percent increase per year.
Councilmember TimBen Boydston voted against the action, citing tough economic times.
“I believe it is the wrong time for elected officials… to be giving themselves a pay raise while we’re still in the middle of a recession,” he said.
Mayor Bob Kellar and Councilmembers Laurene Weste, Marsha McLean and Frank Ferry voted in favor of the raise.
Kellar said that while the city is still recovering from the recession, the economy does seem to be turning around. The council has forgone pay raises in the past because of the difficult economy.
“I have voted ‘no’ on this in times past,” he said.
But he also said that Tuesday’s increase was in keeping with the three percent raise granted to city employees this year.
“I don’t think we have ever exceeded what we have given our employees,” Kellar said.
Boydston was not opposed to the idea of a salary for councilmembers, but felt a raise we inappropriate when “people are still losing their houses” and “living paycheck to paycheck.”
“I also believe that as elected officials, we should take the opportunity to say no to taxes whenever we can,” he said.
Kellar noted that a salary in general and the raise in particular reflects the large amount of time and energy councilmembers spend serving the community, even though their position is technically not full-time.
“This job can take 40-50 hours a week very easily,” he said. “We go seven days a week. I don’t think there’s a councilmember who doesn’t have activities on a daily basis involving this community… It’s an honor to serve…, but I would like to at least keep my head above water, and I think I speak for the other councilmembers when I say that.”
Click here for a copy of the agenda item.
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Source: Santa Clarita News