Mammoth Town Council members held their ground on their views of a pay raise for the Council. Their not so fabulous pay of $300 per month is set in Government Code but does allow a 5% increase annually. The Council never did vote in those raises for the past 29 years. On a 3 to 2 vote, the Council will make $735 per month. They also enjoy health benefits.
At their last meeting, Council members Matthew Lehman, Michael Raimondo and Jo Bacon made it clear that they supported the raise to help the not so wealthy have more incentive to run for office and, at least, not lose money. Councilmen John Eastman and Rick Wood strongly opposed the raise saying the timing was wrong and people do not run for Council for the money.
At the most recent meeting, Councilman Eastman said he respected his colleagues but said he felt strongly about not granting a pay raise. He said the bad snow year could mean a $1 million shortfall. Said Eastman, “We struggled to fund Whitmore and the Fourth of July.” He said on one hand, the Council asked for employees to make sacrifices and on the other hand now want a 245% salary increase. Delay this, he said, until Town government stabilizes.
Councilwoman Jo Bacon said budget plans include use of $385,000 from the Reserve for Economic Uncertainty, not $1 million. Since the Town incorporated, she said, the Consumer Price Index has gone up. She said she serves on Council for the challenge but others may need more pay to “run for the crazy job.”
Michael Raimondo said the pay raise would help future candidates. Matthew Lehman said he respected all that was said. Mayor Rick Wood said the raise made no sense and that candidates are not running for the money. Rich McAteer commented that he did not object to the Council pay raise and that candidates will be shocked at how much time the job takes. Council Candidate Cleland Hoff called the Council decision a tough one.
As expected, Lehman, Bacon and Raimondo voted yes. Eastman and Wood voted no. The pay raise goes into effect July 1 or upon seating of the new Council, whichever is later.