Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

City Pay Raise Bills Introduced

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

City Pay Raise Bills Introduced

Article excerpt

By Elaina Sauber Staff writer

Three new bills were introduced during Charleston City Council's meeting Tuesday that would give raises to more than two-dozen elected officials. The bills in question would raise compensation for council's 26 members, the incoming mayor and the Municipal Court judge beginning in January 2019.

Mayor Danny Jones, who will not seek re-election, recommended last month that council pass legislation to increase the next mayor's salary from $100,000 to $125,000 annually. In January 2023, that amount would automatically increase to $150,000.

More than one-third of council members are sponsoring the bill to increase the next mayor's salary in 2019 and 2023.

Another bill would increase compensation for council members from $200 per meeting to $250. Council members aren't paid for missed meetings.

During council's finance committee meeting Monday, committee chairman Bobby Reishman acknowledged that some council members may not agree with the pay increases, while others already don't accept compensation for holding their seats.

Reishman said there are others who need it, however.

"It's a financial burden to some degree, and I want to make sure they're taken care of, Reishman said.

He added, "There's more time involved than the meetings we have here. You have to be out in your neighborhoods and there's many more meetings they attend, so I just want to make sure that the people who can't necessarily afford it ... can be compensated for their time and energy.

At least one member of council, Shannon Snodgrass, said she won't vote for raises for council members or the incoming mayor.

"If you choose to run for city council, you do it for the duty of serving your city, Snodgrass said. "I don't think anyone does it for a livelihood. And if they do, then it's probably not the right job for them.

The last raise for council members went into effect in June 2011, when the rate per meeting increased from $115 to $200.

Snodgrass said she believes it would be fiscally irresponsible to vote for a bill that would increase the mayor's salary to $150,000 by 2023. …

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