In a recent letter (EW 12/31), Kate Goldsworthy claimed that Mayor Lucy Vinis has had an “unremarkable tenure” and that we deserve a more progressive mayor. I agree 100 percent. The question is, how can we draw more highly qualified progressives to run for mayor and city council? One easy answer is better pay.
The mayor and city councilors who live in the public eye, often under intense scrutiny, make a measly salary of around $15,000. This poverty-level salary limits the pool of possible candidates, oftentimes leaving us with uncontested races and poor representation. If the mayor and councilors were paid roughly the same as we pay county commissioners, around $75,000, we would draw significantly more candidates into these races. The pay increase is a drop in the bucket, but has the potential to help transform our city. Paying the city’s policy-makers poverty-level wages is incredibly stupid.
When I spoke with incoming councilor Matt Keating, he agreed that the mayor and councilor positions should be full-time positions and that they deserved professional compensation. He also pledged that he would work to get that done. I hope Councilor Keating will keep his word and that he will get plenty of support for this common-sense reform.