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Council members approve pay increase

Posted: June 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Members of the Santa Clarita City Council approved a pay raise for themselves this week that will total 3 percent a year for two years.

The raise, which will go into effect July 2014, amounts to an extra $103.73 a month for each council member.
This boosts the monthly salary of each council member to $1,832.57. The vote Tuesday night passed 4-1 with Councilman TimBen Boydston opposing.

It was the second time in two years that council members have voted to approve a pay raise. They voted 3-2 in 2011 to approve a 10 percent total pay raise that covered the period from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2012.

This amounted to a 2.5 percent annual pay increase each year for four years retroactive to 2008. Members said at the time they did not take pay raises during the recession years 2008-2010.

Under state law, council members could have doubled that pay raise.

“I think that there are a lot of people in Santa Clarita who live paycheck to paycheck, and I think it’s wrong to give ourselves a raise,” Boydston said during his vote against the raise.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean, however, said being an effective council member requires a full-time commitment.
“We do a job and I take it very, very seriously,” she said.

McLean also noted that the pay increase, which averages about $50 a month, is less than it costs to fill up her car with gas.

Valencia resident Richard Stefani, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, said he thought council members should not accept a raise at a time when some people are still struggling to find work.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test in my case,” he said.

Another speaker, Allan Cameron, said council members should be paid a living wage so more residents can get involved in local government and called Tuesday’s vote a “pittance of an increase.”

But Cameron also brought up the issue of the city’s two-tiered benefits system, which lowers the amount of benefits available to city employees and council members who were hired or elected after January 2011.

Boydston is the only council member who falls into this category, and Cameron said this creates an “equity” issue.
The approved pay raises for the five members of the City Council will add approximately $6,223.80 to the city’s annual budget.

The city’s approved budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year is $180.6 million.

 

 

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