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City Council feedback slashes salary increases

Compensation Commission backs off 12.5 percent raises

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THURSDAY, March 14 — Lansing’s Elected Officers Compensation Commission outlined a new recommendation today to increase pay for elected officials by 8.8 percent over three years.

That replaces a 12.5 percent increase that the City Council all but shot down earlier this week.

Mayor Andy Schor, who earns $128,400 a year, would go up to $139,653 instead of $144,500.

The salary for the city clerk would rise $87,066 to $94,668. The Council president’s pay would grow from $26,640 to $28,965. The vice president would rise from $25,140 to $27,334. Other Council members would see their paychecks increase from $24,240 to $26,552.

All told, the initially proposed annual raises were slated to total about $48,000 by 2021. The latest proposal cuts that figure down to about $37,000 — a total expense the commission hopes City Council will find more palatable.

“We went to the Council and asked for feedback. I hope they see we listened,” said Commissioner Jeff McAlvey.

The commission voted 6-0, with one member missing, for the new proposal.

At least five members of the City Council on Monday spurned the commission’s preliminary recommendations. The Council, which has the power to reject the commission’s determinations, allowed 20 percent raises to take effect in 2015 after only four members voted against it. A subsequent set of raises of 1 percent a year for two years was rejected in 2017.

Initial proposals were met with disdain. Although they were expressly designed to catch up on four years of stagnant salaries, most Council members didn’t seem keen to effectively reverse the prior vote and allow themselves to recollect on lost wages.

Councilman Adam Hussain called the initial plan “a bit out-of-touch” earlier this week, garnering support from most of his colleagues. The feedback ultimately sent the commission back to the drawing board earlier this afternoon.

The new recommendation will also be split into separate resolutions for each office, allowing the Council to reject salary increases for itself while permitting them to take effect for the mayor and the clerk, if the Council chooses.

City Council needs six votes to reject the recommendations, otherwise they take effect by default. Hussain and Council members Jody Washington, Peter Spadafore, Jeremy Garza and Carol Wood expressed misgivings about the recommendation. The commission has higher hopes for the latest changes.

“They won’t approve this if we just try to re-do what they rejected,” McAlvey argued. “The question becomes: Do we do what Council will accept or do we just make our own determinations on this?”

The commission is specifically designed to separate City Council from its own salary decisions. The determinations from the commission are supposed to take effect by default under city ordinance. Melot said they should only be rejected if City Council feels the determinations have totally deviated from best practices.

Still, the commission decided a fresh look at the proposed salary adjustments was more appropriate. A formal proposal is en route to City Council members. They’ll be expected to again take up the issue later this month.

The proposed increases are outlined below. Visit lansingcitypulse.com for previous and continued coverage on the Elected Officers Compensation Commission.


Proposed salary increases:

Mayor

Current Salary — $128,400

2019 — $134,099

2020 — $136,781

2021 — $139,653

Clerk

Current Salary — $87,066

2019 — $90,903

2020 — $92,721

2021 — $94,668

Council President

Current Salary — $26,640

2019 — $27,813

2020 — $28,369

2021 — $28,965

Council Vice President

Current Salary — $25,140

2019 — $26,247

2020 — $26,772

2021 — $27,334

Council Members

Current Salary — $24,240

2019 — $25,496

2020 — $26,006

2021 — $26,552

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