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Council Members should be paid at least the unemployment rate

Original post made by Hank Lawrence, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights, on Dec 8, 2010

I attended the City Council meeting last night and was appalled to learn that Menlo park City Council members only earn $600/month. Given the long hard hours that they work that should be paid at least the unemployment rate of $450/week or $1,950/month. Combined their total salaries at the new rate would only be $117,000/year- less than what I make.

It does not seem fair that people can sit at home not working and collect more money than hard working city council members who, on the average, are probably putting in more than 40 hours/week. Plus the people collecting unemployment insurance don't even pay CA state tax.

Comments (5)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 8, 2010 at 7:58 am

Part time elected public service is a privilege and such officials should be paid little f anything. They certainly should not receive the same health care benefits as do full time employees.

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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2010 at 10:33 am

I'm not sure how I feel about this subject, but it does raise some interesting issues. Some might say, "you get what you pay for"; which would be an argument that would support Hank's position. Another argument that would support that position is that if council members made more money, perhaps voters would put more thought into who they elect. While I totally believe Peter's sincerity when he says that he considers public service to be a privilege, there are a lot of capable people who might serve who otherwise would not if there were a greater incentive to do so; this is especially true of younger people whose fresh perspective and ideas may be beneficial to a community such as Menlo Park, and whom could use the extra income. Food for thought fo sure.

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Posted by Outrage
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2010 at 11:13 am

Name a council in any city in San Mateo County that exemplifies their past abilities and who don't spend most of their time hiring attorney friends/acquaintances who handle the tough questions.
Council members normally want to serve in order to help their communities, and I have yet to see ONE council group who shouldn't be paying for their elected positions. The idea is to SAVE bucks, not to spend them.


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Posted by balance budget
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 10, 2010 at 10:32 am

The idea of paying something more is fine as long as the city budget can afford it. Atart with more affordable benefits to all staff, and look hard at the upper levels of city staff who are paid too well in these economic times when the taxpayers have suffered and sacrificed.
To pay council more and not address other compensation issues is absurd.

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Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Dec 10, 2010 at 11:07 am

Outrage - "the idea is to SAVE bucks, not to spend them".

I disagree with your comment in the context of talking about City Councils. The primary financial role of the Council is to set priorities to thus assure that the available "bucks" are spent wisely. The responsibility to then achieve the established goals at the lowest possible cost falls on City staff. I'm not arguing for or against Hank's proposal, but I do think that at least considering whether providing a financial incentive to attract more capable policy makers to serve is at least worth considering. Still thinking about how I feel on this one.

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