June 29, 2004
Members of the Gilbert Town Council will go behind closed doors today to talk about their salaries.
The closed session is posted as a consultation with the town attorney for legal advice regarding changes in council compensation. Under state law, the council can seek legal advice in private.
After the session, the council won’t be able to comment on what was discussed.
"It’s one of those things that really is for advice," said Mayor Steve Berman, who has joked about his low pay at council meetings. "The truth is there is nothing we can do now if we wanted to."
Town Attorney Susan Goodwin said that a council vote to change salaries — which must take place during an open public meeting — would not be effective during the members’ current term.
A change, however, could become effective after next year’s election, Goodwin said. Berman, Vice Mayor Don Skousen and Councilman Dave Petersen are up for re-election in March and could be recipients of a pay boost effective in June 2005. The other four members would not be eligible unless re-elected in 2007.
"Gilbert historically has waited two election cycles so there’s a complete new council, but you can do it either way," Goodwin said.
A Gilbert council last voted in January 2001 for a pay increase, which became effective last year. Berman, who was not a member of that council, received a nearly 5 percent raise earlier this month from $2,200 to $2,300 a month, bringing his annual salary to $27,600.
In June 2003, the six council members received a 44 percent raise from $10,800 to $15,600 per year.
No other scheduled raises are in place.
In Chandler, the annual salaries are $26,500 for the mayor, $14,700 for the vice mayor and $13,500 for each council member. In Mesa, the mayor will earn $36,004 a year and council members $18,012 a year, effective Thursday. In Tempe, the mayor earns $42,466 and council members make $21,234. In Scottsdale, the mayor earns $36,000 and council members $18,000.