The reality is that the increase in salaries or financial compensation for Mayor and Councilors recently voted on by Common Council not out of line with compensation in other cities for Councilors. The public perception is that a 76% increase for Deputy Mayor Shirley McAlary, who requested the salary review in August, and the nearly 56% for other Councilors is too much. By the way, Gary Sullivan, Greg Norton and David Merrithew voted against the motion, so my hat is off to them. Our good Mayor said he would not take his increase in light of the city’s financial challenges. At least not for 2017, then it’s anyone’s guess.
The subject of a salary increase for Councilors came up AGAIN this morning at the McDonald’s coffee session.
Trump was put on the back burner for a change, besides he’s busy draining the swamp finding more alligators for his transition team .
After a brief discussion on the subject of salaries I decides to carry out my very own unofficial poll this morning at McDonald’s. I went from table to table and asked: “Should Council have voted themselves a 50% plus raise”? Without exception everyone I asked without hesitation said “NO”.
I’m telling you this salary increase is hanging around like a picked egg fart in an elevator, it stinks and it’s not going away.
Saint John has a very high number of families either on fixed income and living at or below the poverty line. Given this backdrop, image if you will it’s March and April of this year during the municipal election campaign. Some candidates running for Council have declared as they go door to door that should they be elected they would look for a pay increase a few short months down the road.
How many of those candidates do you think would have been elected or re-elected? Would you believe few or none. Has there been any damage to Council’s credibility by deciding to give themselves a huge pay raise? Given the obvious conflict of interest the salary increase should have come into effect for the NEXT Common Council or the question should have been put to the public in the form of a public referendum or a plebiscite.
The public perception is that they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes by Common Council with the 50% plus salary increase, and in the world of municipal politics the voting public’s perception is reality.
Think about it.
“I don’t govern myself on Facebook, but I’m not going to have anybody question my integrity and I’m not going to have anybody use this, politically, against me,” he said
Following last Thursday night’s finance committee meeting, Darling said his position hadn’t changed, but that he was weighing some of the feedback he’d gotten from the public.
“I’ve had about six or seven notes giving me feedback on why we shouldn’t do it as a council. I’ve had three or four notes on why we should, and folks thinking that it’s fair, but publicly, I’ve had really nothing but support of those speaking to me,” he said.
If the amendment passes its final reading, the mayor’s salary and allowances would rise from $57,000 to $74,454, the deputy mayor’s salary and allowances would climb from $22,000 to $38,612, while the rest of council would see their salaries and allowances increase from $19,000 to $29,562.