The role of mayor naturally comes with hours of commitment, responsibility and additional stress. It takes a particular type of person willing to step up to such a civic duty.
That’s why it also makes sense that they should be fairly compensated.
Earlier this month, Ward 8 City Council member Tommy Dawson raised this same point.
He proposed the idea of raising the mayor’s yearly salary from $16,000 to $45,000.
If passed, this would be the first mayoral raise since 1998, according to City Manager Jim Buston.
Frankly, this is a change that would be beneficial to not only the person elected mayor but to the governance of the City as a whole.
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By raising the salary, there would be an increase in citizens willing to take on the position.
Right now, it’s difficult to ask someone to take a step back from their full-time job to take on a role with little financial return.
The position of mayor currently isn’t someone’s only career and comes with a demanding schedule that is on par with a rigorous part-time job. Auburn doesn’t provide anyone in City Council with health insurance, but they’re taxed on their salary.
Low-income residents who would like to change the City are being indirectly prevented from doing so.
The position of mayor shouldn’t exclusively go to the person who is in a situation that allows them to not worry about money.
The increase to $45,000 would be a welcomed supplemental income that would allow those on an hourly wage to get involved as well.
According to Buston, Auburn ranks below average in mayor salary compared to other cities with a similar government setup.
This results in more candidates who are in a much better economic position than most of the people that they’re governing.
Auburn shouldn’t exclude those who can’t afford to leave or take a back seat in their day job.
By expanding the applicant pool, the City Council will have more diverse perspectives, implementing policies that help those from every background.
City Council could also vote on doubling the compensation of its members from $7,200 to $14,400.
Even though it’s less than that of the mayor’s, it still could potentially produce an increase in diversity in the applicant pool.
These proposed salary increases have the power to relieve elected officials economic stress of balancing a full-time job and focusing on city government.
This would allow them to provide even more focus on what the community needs, not having to worry if they’re working enough elsewhere.
We should make it easier for them to serve us better.
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