A seat on the council can certainly act as a stepping stone for those with political aspirations, but it’s not meant to be a career in itself – and because of that, there’s simply no reason to include the council in a city salary survey.

Is anyone talking about that? We don’t really know. The city just agreed to pay $91,500 for an independent firm to conduct an analysis of 154 job positions within the city and determine whether those workers are paid fairly. However, despite the council voting to move forward with the study, city officials can’t say whether the mayor and council positions will be included.

This issue came up in December before the current council started its new term, and council members at the time voted against addressing their own pay before rank-and-file employees who have long needed salary adjustments. However, this survey is designed to take care of those employees, so it’s not a stretch to conclude that someone’s going to propose a council pay increase again.

Let’s just put a stop to that business now.

Those who say the council deserves a raise will point out that since 1995, council members have earned $650 per month, and the mayor has received $950 per month. According to city officials, comparisons to other towns Havasu’s size have shown council members and the mayor should be making well over $1,000 each month. Of course, that’s not really relevant since there’s no need to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to elected positions – there’s no danger of a Lake Havasu City councilman resigning his position here for a better-paying gig in Bullhead City, for instance.

On the other hand, City Council members past and present will tell you they spend much time attending meetings, speaking at community groups and otherwise donating their personal time to city issues. Some of them work enough for it to be considered a full-time job. Some of them use their own funds to pay for meals or other costs associated for representing the city. For those costs, council members and the mayor should be compensated, and we’d argue their current pay probably more than covers it.

City Council members don’t need a raise. Period. Serving on the City Council is an opportunity for Lake Havasu City residents to serve their neighbors and make Havasu a better place to live.

— Today’s News-Herald

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(4) comments

nexsenm

The logic in this editorial is flawed. Many citizens have indicated that the Council should have younger representation and not always business owners or retired individuals. In other words, why don’t we have more “regular folks” on the Council? Well the answer is those people can’t afford to do it. This paper indicates that the 1995 pay more than compensates for a council members expenses, which is inaccurate. Even if it did why should someone work for free? My guess is that the writer of this editorial is unwilling to work at the newspaper for an amount that “covers their out of pocket expenses”. Afterall, working as an editor or publisher at the newspaper is an opportunity to serve the local community by providing our citizens with updates and news of the City. What is forgotten here is that many council members have to take time away from their job and most employers expect them to use their vacation time. I can assure you that $650 a month does not cover out of pocket expenses and lost compensation from their regular jobs. I worked as the Mayor for 12 years and never complained about the pay. I put in an average of 50 hours per week during that period. My expenses and lost compensation from my other job far exceeded my after tax monthly pay as Mayor. The comment that I would not quit to get a gig in Bullhead City is misguided. The issue here is fair compensation for work performed. Just like a regular job, the Council members interviewed for the position and the electorate gave them the job. Fair compensation for work performed should not be debated. Yes it was an honor for me to serve the community. I know the current Council feels the same, but that is not a reason for them to be unfairly compensated. No one on the Council expects to “make a living” by serving on Council. Anyone with a job, just wants to be fairly paid for the work performed. If the writer of this editorial (or anyone else for that matter) disagrees, I hope I see their name on the next ballot for City Council.

HavasuGuy

Anyone that thinks it's okay to not fairly compensate our elected officials can't logically support fairly compensating the employees of the city. Fair is fair, no distinction because of position is logical. I agree with you nexsenm

HwyRovr

[thumbup][thumbup]

Charlie Cassens

Past Mayor Nexsen’s comments are right on the mark. I seriously doubt the person who wrote this uninformed piece would be willing to work for the same wages they earned in 1995, assuming he or she was actually in the workforce at the time. In my experience with working with many elected officials over the decades, our Mayor and City Council members work far in excess of their meager compensation. I would absolutely support an increase to bring them in line with their cohorts in similar communities. It is only fair and equitable.

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