Ever since joining the City Council, I have been amazed at how much of each workday all of my council colleagues are required to spend on such a wide variety of city-related activities.
Ed. Note: The following article presents the view of District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher that the time is now for raising council pay. We have stated our opposition to the city charter amendment on this issue (Click Here), but we want you to be aware of Mr. Gallagher’s reasons for supporting it. Early Voting ends at 8 p.m. on May 5, and Election Day is Saturday, May 9. Republished from Express-News, by Mike Gallagher, January 9, 2015.
For example, the majority of my week is taken up in attending meetings and ceremonies, and visiting with constituents, as well as receiving briefings by city staff and others. I am fortunate to be a retired military officer and can usually afford to spend the time at all these events. However, most of my colleagues don’t have this luxury. They must also find the time to attempt to make a living, raise a family, save for education and retirement, in addition to paying for everyday expenses.
Some of you will immediately respond, “So what, they knew what they were getting into when they ran.” My answer is yes, they knew; however, that doesn’t mean the status-quo is right. In fact, I firmly believe that any time you underpay someone, you are asking for trouble.
To put the subject in perspective, let’s look at what other cities pay their council members. They fall into two categories: “full-time” and “parttime.” Los Angeles classifies its council members as full-time and pays them $178,789 per year. Topping the list for part-time council members’ annual pay is New York City. Believe it or not, it pays $121,725 per year. Chicago pays its part-timers $109,261, and Phoenix pays theirs $61,610. In Texas, Houston pays full-timers $55,770, while Dallas pays its part-timers $37,500. Again, contrast that with San Antonio’s $1,040 maximum.
Another significant aspect of this issue is the age of those who have agreed to serve on Council. We have three baby boomers (ages 45 to 67), seven Generation X’ers, (ages 30 to 44) and one millennial (ages 18 to 29). Most of these individuals are at a point in their lives where they should be in jobs that support and protect their families and their futures. To their credit, they have demonstrated the resolve to serve San Antonio in spite of the horrendous loss of income. It is wrong for us as a community to expect these people to spend more than 40 hours a week conducting city business and use the balance of their time trying to earn a living.
Republished from Express-News. CLICK HERE to read the original.
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