(On Tuesday) the City Council will have a second reading of an ordinance increasing their salaries five percent from $2,217 to $2,328. This increase will not take effect until after the November 2022 election.
Santa Clarita City Council salaries already far exceed those paid to other councils in north L.A. County, some of which have their own police force and utility providers. Examples: Burbank, $1,463; Pasadena, $1,367; Glendale, $1,430; Palmdale, $1,265 mayor, $795 council member; Simi Valley, $1,202; Lancaster, $600; La Canada Flintridge, $300; Alhambra $917; and, San Marino, council serves without compensation.
It is important to note that in addition to the salaries, council members receive “other pay” and deferred compensation. The total wages to each council member exceed their salaries with a range of $31,481 to $45,880 annually.
There is no question whether the pay increase is legal under government code 36516 (a). The fact is that we can look at data from other cities and establish an idea of what the scale for comparison is among similar cities and conclude that an increase is not necessary or appropriate at this time.
I will stipulate that the council members do more than just attend two monthly meetings. They are on subcommittees, regional committees, read material and meet with the city manager and constituents. I also believe that this is not unusual for council members from each of the cities cited above.
It is my contention that council pay is excessive relative to other comparable cities in our region and a pay raise is not necessary or warranted at this time.
Members of local school district boards are compensated with a stipend of around $400 per month although they have duties, responsibilities and time commitments that are comparable or exceed that of City Council members. School board members are the true public servants in the SCV.
I was amazed that after searching public records that such a disparity actually exists, and that the council would approve the salary increase despite the evidence presented to them on April 12.
I will ask the City Council to forego a raise on Tuesday evening and be satisfied with the generous compensation package that they currently receive.
Stephen C. Petzold