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Council rejects offered raise

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 12, 2016

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Continuing a trend extending back more than a decade, City Council unanimously rejected a proposed raise from the Compensation Commission at the Jan. 4 City Council meeting.

Reflecting that “most of us don’t sit here for the money,” council members once again rejected a proposed 2.5 percent increase in compensation from the commission, which meets at the end of odd years to decide recommendations for council salaries for the following two years.

Council members currently earn an annual salary of $7,934.85, and the mayor earns $10,070.77. The last approved increase was in 2005, when the commission recommended 2.5 percent increases for council members and the mayor. But in 2011, in keeping with a request of all city employees for a 5 percent decrease in salaries, council members and the mayor also took a 5 percent decrease in their pay, bringing them to the current levels.

“It’s actually gone down over the last decade and a half,” City Manager Mike Smith said. 

Council similarly rejected an offered 1.5 percent raise in January 2014.

In other nearby municipalities, the Eastpointe mayor earns $4,174 and council earns $3,490, the Roseville mayor earns $10,259 and council earns $8,370, the Fraser mayor earns $4,531 and council earns $3,835, and the Troy mayor earns $2,100 with council earning the same. 

“I’m looking at the comparables ... and comparing our own financial issues,” said Councilman John Caron. “What our compensation is, is we’re actually on the higher side compared to most municipalities.”

And while 2 percent raises were given to city staff this year, Caron said that the city did so when administration realized they would be forced to do so if they refused and then went to arbitration. 

“I would move to reject the Compensation (Commission’s recommendation),” he said. “It’s not the right time for this.”

Other council members agreed.

Councilwoman Candice Rusie said she “thanks (the) Compensation Commission for their time and effort, (but) it’s not the time for this.”

And Mayor Kip Walby said that, while members of the Police and Fire departments and other city staff members deserve the raises because those are their full-time jobs, “most of us don’t sit here for the money.”

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