Council Members Affirm Fourfold Raise for Themselves
The Inglewood City Council on Tuesday night affirmed a citywide initiative to quadruple its members’ salaries, making the council members the highest paid in the South Bay area.
City Council members will receive $47,244 a year and the mayor will receive $94,500. The ordinance, approved on a 3-2 vote with council members Judy Dunlap and Curren Price dissenting, will take effect in 30 days. But the pay increase will not go into effect before April 1997, when the next municipal elections are held.
The salary increases were approved by Inglewood residents in the Nov. 5 election as Proposition Y, which got 60% of the vote.
But that didn’t keep some citizens from protesting the raise at the weekly City Council meeting. “There is no city that is paying the salaries that this city is paying,” said Thomasina Reed, who is on the Inglewood Unified School District board of trustees. “If you want to spend some money, do it in the school district.”
“I think it is pitiful to have salaries this size when we can’t afford to have somebody stay in the park for children to make it safe to play,” said Muriel Prey, who lives near Siminski Park.
But the majority of the council members felt they were just following the will of the voters. “What am I going to do? Refuse two-thirds of the electorate?” asked Councilman Jose Fernandez.
Currently, the council members make $808 a month, with additional pay if they attend other city meetings. The mayor of the city of 103,000 makes $1,616 a month plus additional fees for going to other meetings. The elected officials are also reimbursed for travel expenses.
The new pay levels are hefty compared to those in other South Bay cities. Torrance, with a population of 142,000, pays City Council members $100 a month. In Carson, with a population of 88,000, council members earn $992 a month.