St. Clair Shores City Council members receive raises, despite objections

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 27, 2022

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Following the trend of the past several years, St. Clair Shores City Council members will receive 2% increases in their compensation.

As of 2021, the mayor received annual compensation of $10,477.63 and council members received $8,255.35 each year. The St. Clair Shores Compensation Commission voted Dec. 7 to extend a 2% raise to all of the members of council, including the mayor, which would go into effect 30 days after it was filed with the City Clerk unless rejected by the council. The recommendation was filed Dec. 9. The commission last recommended a raise in 2019.

Speaking at the Jan. 3 City Council meeting, Councilman John Caron said he appreciated the work of the Compensation Commission, but he didn’t feel comfortable “voting for a pay raise myself.”

“I am going to be consistent and move to deny the recommendations,” he said.

Councilwoman Candice Rusie agreed.

“We don’t do this for the compensation. What we saw, especially in the last election, there was so much interest and no one mentioned the compensation. People had ideas,” he said. “I don’t think we need this. It’s more than generous, what we get. This body accepted (raises) in 2017 and 2019, and I hope this body rejects this one.”

A 2% raise amounts to an extra $209.55 for the mayor and $165.11 for council members.

The raises were set to go into effect Jan. 8 unless two-thirds of council voted against the raise.

Other council members said they felt the extra money could be put to good use.

“It’s not much. We all give ... to the charities and the organizations and all of that. Generally, this money, most of it if not all of it, goes to those,” said Councilman Ron Frederick. “If we do allow this, we can use a little more money for some of those folks.”

Councilman Dave Rubello agreed.

“I do go to all these events and donate and whatever they want you to do we do, basically. I think I still have a positive impact on the community,” he said. “I’ll probably buy a little bit more here and there at these special events.”

Rusie retorted that she would still prefer the money stay in the general fund.

“I don’t think we need a budget amendment to give ourselves more money,” she said. “We all signed up for this, knowing the money we make. We all signed up knowing expenses entailed and time entailed. I just think it’s sad (that) people are sitting up here wanting to give ourselves more money.”

City Councilman Peter Accica said it can be difficult to balance generosity at the various city events with other expenses.

“We all give. We keep giving and we like to give, so it helps. If you’re not making the money, it’s pretty hard to go to these events because you’ve got households to run,” he said.

Caron, Rusie and Councilman Chris Vitale voted to deny the raise, but the motion failed by a vote of 4-3. Accica, Frederick, Rubello and Mayor Kip Walby voted against the denial. The raises, therefore, automatically took effect Jan. 8.