Members of the Burbank City Council this week decided not to give themselves raises after one councilman had a last-minute change of heart.
On Tuesday, three of the five council members voted to give themselves a 5% raise, but just a few hours later, Councilman Gary Bric asked to change his vote.
“This isn’t about economics for us, it’s our heart and desire to serve,” Bric said.
Councilmen David Gordon and Bob Frutos, along with Bric, had originally voted for the raise, which would have boosted their pay by $54 a month.
Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy and Councilman Jess Talamantes had voted against it.
“We’re not drafted, we volunteer,” Gabel-Luddy said.
But Gordon had argued that such small salaries for council members might discourage those who can’t afford to leave work for the obligations from pursuing a seat.
“There is a very, very big difference between a retired city employee making a very handsome retirement income and working people that leave their jobs to come and serve,” Gordon said.
“One meeting, one day, costs me more than my month’s salary here,” he said.
Currently, council members make $1,075 a month, 13% below the average, according to a city-commissioned survey comparing Burbank to a dozen or so other local cities, including Glendale, Pasadena and Santa Monica, officials said.
The Burbank City Council has not received a raise since 2007, according to a city report.
Bric said he certainly felt the council was deserving of a raise, but regardless of what he was paid, he would still “do the same thing.”
“I certainly never signed up for this for the money,” he said. “Yes, we’ve gone a long time without a raise, but there are a lot of other people that are more deserving of that than we are.”