Members of the Elk Grove City Council voted 4-1 to increase their monthly pay by $200 Wednesday night, citing the long hours and spent vacation time required to do the job. The increase will go into effect in December, following the election.
"It's not a full-time job as far as the pay is concerned, but the duties of this job approach near a full-time job anyway," said Vice Mayor Pat Hume, the first one to voice his opinion during Wednesday's meeting.
He, Mayor Jim Cooper and Council Member Steve Detrick all said they have to use vacation time from their full-time jobs to make time for city business.
"I've missed family events," Cooper said, noting that he doesn't request mileage reimbursement for driving outside of the city limits. "It's not a part-time job and there's a lot involved in it."
Council Member Sophia Scherman, who is retired, said to the best of her recollection the last pay increase council members received was in 2002.
Hume pointed out that the council could have been giving itself 5 percent raises each year, but hasn't.
The sole member of the council who opposed the pay raise, Council Member Gary Davis, didn't publicly state why he voted the way he did.
In a later phone interview, Davis said he opposed the item both because of the perceived conflict of voting for his own salary increase and because of the current economic climate. He declined to specify whether he would refuse the extra pay if he's still on the council in December, saying he would make that decision if it comes up. His seat on the council is up in 2014.
"When I ran for the council I didn't realize there was any pay," he said by phone. "To me it's about public service and serving the community of Elk Grove."
Davis, who along with Scherman is running for mayor, declined to say whether he would accept a stipend if one is created for that position, saying he wanted to take things "one step at a time." He also denied that his vote Wednesday was motivated by political reasons.
"I approached this vote the same way I've approached every vote for the last six years, regardless of when an election might be."
Read more about the background to this item here and here.