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Atascadero city council seeks raise 

Atascadero City Council members: Mayor Tom OMalley, Mayor Pro Tem Heather Moreno, Councilman Bob Kelley, Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi, Councilman Brian Sturtevant.

Atascadero City Council members: Mayor Tom OMalley, Mayor Pro Tem Heather Moreno, Councilman Bob Kelley, Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi, Councilman Brian Sturtevant.

Last council raise was in 1984

The Atascadero City Council voted 4-1 in favor of pursuing pay increases for themselves along with the city clerk and treasurer.

City staff presented two draft ordinances to the council at its regular meeting Tuesday:

Option A:

1. City Council: Increase monthly salary from $300 to $600
2. Mayor: Increase monthly salary from $300 to $750
3. City Clerk: Increase monthly salary from $200 to $400
4. City Treasurer: Increase monthly salary from $200 to $400

Option B:

1. City Council: No increase in monthly salary
2. Mayor: Increase monthly salary from $300 to $500
3. City Clerk: Increase monthly salary from $200 to $300
4. City Treasurer: Increase monthly salary from $200 to $300

The council chose Draft Ordinance A containing higher raises.

Councilman Bob Kelley was the dissenting vote saying he didn’t buy into arguments that higher pay would attract younger candidates to run for council and that he believed it was an unfair burden to place on city coffers at this time, but that didn’t dissuade his colleagues who listed events and dinners they attend and boards on which they serve — all of which, they say, cost them time and money.

Councilmember Roberta Fonzi said she works at least 20 hours each week on city council business and cited a recent dinner she attended that was $50 and that, though she welcomes serving her city, she believes it’s fair to pursue a raise since the last one was in 1984. At 80 hours of work each month, her current $300-per-month pay would equal $3.75 per hour.

“There has to be some sort of fairness; the Bible says, ‘The worker is worthy of their wages,’” Fonzi said.

The last ordinance governing council pay was adopted by the city council was in 1984 and went into effect Jan. 1, 1985. The last increase for city treasurer was adopted on July 9, 1991. The last city clerk pay increase was adopted on Aug. 9, 1994.

Mayor Tom O’Malley said he had mixed feelings on the subject of raises but was sympathetic to his fellow council members. “I’ve been opposed to looking at increases in the past,” O’Malley said, “I’ve heard a number of council members … that this is a burden.”

O’Malley pointed out that he and Fonzi have both served on regional boards long enough to have earned positions as chairpersons and that that position requires additional time and work. “I put in 30 hours per week at times,” he said. “I enjoy it … It’s a sacrifice of time.”

O’Malley pointed out that any council member may decline the raise individually if it is approved. The ordinance would increase annual city costs by $25,700 to $32,400. Mayor Pro Tem Heather Moreno made the motion in favor of the ordinance, seconded by council member Brian Sturtevant.

According to state law, city council’s raises can only go into effect after the city’s next election. The law doesn’t, however, put time constraints on the pay increases for the Mayor, Clerk or Treasurer.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.

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