The Mobile City Council has proposed a 33-percent increase in the elected body’s pay following the 2021 municipal elections. The same ordinance would increase the mayor’s pay from $89,000 per year to $125,000.
Councilman Joel Daves, the proposal’s sponsor, defended the raises, saying it would be the first adjustment in pay for the elected leaders since 1997.
“After the 2021 election, it will have been 24 years,” Daves said. “Since that time, the city’s budget has almost doubled, increasing 80 to 90 percent and pay for city employees has gone up 50 percent.”
The ordinance, which is set to appear on the council agenda at Tuesday’s regular meeting, would raise the council’s annual base salary from $19,800 to $24,600. The rate councilors are paid per meeting would also be increased from $175 per meeting to $300 per meeting. That means that if a councilor were to attend all 48 meetings, the proposed ordinance would increase the salary another $14,400 per year. Previously, councilors earned just $8,900 additional per year if members attended all meetings. Councilors also receive a $325 stipend for local expenses per month. That would not change.
The proposal, therefore, would lift council salaries from $32,800 per year to $42,900. That’s an increase of $10,100 per year.
Due to the current leadership on council and in the mayor’s office, Daves said, the city is seeing a strong fiscal condition not enjoyed since its founding.
“The turnaround in the city’s finances is attributable to the leadership of the mayor and council,” Daves said. “We’ve given 2.5-percent raises to our employees at a time when other cities are furloughing employees.”
Daves said while it’s hard to draw comparisons between Mobile and the state’s other large cities in relation to elected official pay, he said the 33-percent increase took into account the jump in the city’s budget over the last two decades and its increases in employee pay during that same time.
In addition to the increases for councilors, the person elected council president would receive an additional $6,000 per year. That would bring the president’s salary to a maximum of $48,900.
Councilman John Williams said he’s against the proposed increases for councilors.
“We want to attract people who have been successful and are successful; who want to sacrifice to serve in government,” Williams said. “We don’t want to create jobs for those who want to be part of a government for life.”
Attempts to reach Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office for comment have been unsuccessful. Attempts to reach Councilwoman Bess Rich for comment have also been unsuccessful.
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