City Council Approves Pay Raise

The City Council voted 8-2 to double the council salaries, from $14,000 to $28,000 on Monday night.

The salary increase, the first for the council in eight years, goes into effect when the next City Council takes office in 2024. District 1 Councilor Todd Taylor made the initial motion for the pay increase, stating it would be a way to get more qualified candidates interested in serving on the council.

During several subcommittee meetings over the past month, Taylor and other councilors have noted that the salary for the Chelsea council is far below that of surrounding communities.

Councilors Giovanni Recupero and Calvin Brown voted against the pay hike.

A motion by Recupero for a salary increase to $20,000 with a yearly cost of living adjustment failed to pass muster with the full council.

“I believe that it is fair and just way to give a pay raise to … the council that comes after us, but I believe it should be pretty adequate, $20,000 plus an adjustment,” said Recupero. “I believe it is fair to get yourself a $6,000 raise plus a cost of living adjustment, instead of getting a big (raise) all at one time.”

At $20,000, Taylor said the salary would still be far below what other council’s earn.

“I don’t think it’s enough to attract other people who might otherwise want to run for city council but could not afford it,” Taylor said.

As for the proposed cost of living adjustments, Taylor said he believes the council should have the intestinal fortitude to go on the record and vote when it wants to raise its salary.

“On principle, I am not in favor of automatic pay raises,” said Taylor.

Councilor-At-Large Damali Vidot voiced her support for Taylor’s original motion.

“We’ve had some pretty good discussions on this, and when I see folks and they find out what the salary is for city council, they are like, why do you put up with all of that?” Vidot said. “While it is technically a part-time job, the amount of hours you have to be available … you have to be available 24/7.”

Vidot said she believed the $28,000 salary would create a more sustainable atmosphere for people who want to represent the community but otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it because it is such a low salary.

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