Yes, Danville City Council members deserve a raise. No, not this much and no, not all at once..
You don’t get elected to public office to make lots of money, but elected officials do deserve fair compensation for the number of hours that they put in. Currently, Danville City Council members make $5,000 a year with the mayor getting $2,000 extra. That’s ridiculously too low and the council will be voting this week on adding an additional $5,000 to their yearly salary. That would bring it to a comparable amount based on similar sized areas.
$10,000 a year is indeed a fair number and I’m supportive of them getting that… eventually. Now’s not the time to hit the “Double” button. I’ve got a big problem with any elected board able to set their own salary, so I would support them enacting a raise that would take effect on the next term of office. Even that’s not a practical idea since the terms of councilmembers are staggered with 4 seats coming open in the next election, but at least that would make all of the members eventually face the voters after voting a raise.
I’ve also got a big problem with the council voting to double their money while the rest of the city employees haven’t gotten raises in a few years. That sets a horrible attitude of the officers getting a big raise while the enlisted personnel get nothing.
Here’s my solution. City Council should indeed vote themselves a raise to be effective on the next term of office, and that raise should be $1,000 instead of $5,000. If they want to continually increment that raise up to the proposed $5,000 level, do it… but do it over a multi-year period. After doing that, next year’s budget MUST include a raise to city workers no matter what the cost involved. Council can find enough Mystery Money in the budgeting process to make that happen.
That’s an easy solution that wouldn’t leave a nasty taste in my mouth and I believe that the citizens of Danville could swallow that result quite easily.