With little public discussion at its Dec. 12 meeting, the Chandler City Council nearly unanimously gave itself a sizable pay raise.
By measure of a 6-1 vote, council members will be paid $29,000 annually beginning in 2015 and the mayor’s salary will increase to $49,500. The bumps represent a 37 percent raise for the council and 30 percent for the mayor.
Councilman Kevin Hartke was the lone dissenting vote. This week, he cited the “awkwardness for us to be the ones to give us a salary raise” for his vote.
That reason also was brought up by Chandler resident Victor Peterson.
“Shouldn’t the voters of the city vote on your pay raise?” Peterson asked the council before the vote. “I never worked anywhere where I could go to the boss and say, ‘I’m getting a 37 percent raise, because I want it.’”
Including comments by Peterson and Angela Creedon, who represented the Chandler Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee and spoke in favor of the raise, the issue took up slightly more than six minutes during the council meeting.
The city’s counsel took up part of that time explaining council members were not giving themselves a raise but rather increasing the pay of future councils since the increases won’t go into effect until members elected in November 2014 take office.
Council members Jack Sanders, Nora Ellen and Rick Heumann will hold their office in 2015, and Hartke could as well is he wins re-election. Mayor Jay Tibshraeny also will run for re-election next year.
Councilwoman Trinity Donovan, who will no longer be part of the council when the bump takes effect, proposed the raise.
“I want to do all I can to ensure that there will be quality candidates who will choose to run for local elected office,” Donovan wrote in a council memo. “It takes a significant time commitment in order to represent the citizens of Chandler well and it is critical that the members of the council be fairly compensated for their time, efforts and the work they do on behalf of the residents of this community.”
The increase gives the elected officials in Chandler — the state’s fourth-largest city — the fourth-highest pay in Arizona after taking into account the raises Mesa officials will receive in 2015.
“This puts us in line with our peer cities,” Creedon said.
The Chandler City Council last voted to increase its pay in 2007, which was a bump of 48 percent for the council and 38 percent for the mayor.
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