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Letter: Citizens should have a say in council pay

Presently, by charter, our part-time City Council’s salary is fixed by our state government code. Measure C would amend the charter allowing the Glendale City Council, by ordinance, to decide for itself how much it receives.

The sample ballot pamphlet’s pro argument on Measure C, signed by three council members, states total annual salary for the council as $17,160. This statement is half true and misguides those who rely on it.

The Glendale News-Press pointed out the figure is “a bit misleading, as it jumps to around $56,000 when... benefits kick in.” According to the website, Transparent California, for 2013 one signatory council member, whose regular pay was $17,725, received a total council member’s compensation of $60,930 when considering other pay and benefits.

Individuals may argue whether the statement was crafted to be true as far as it went but intentionally calculated to present a deceptive, or at least a less than complete, picture, of council’s total compensation. However it does illustrate an important point. Whether consciously or unconsciously, when individuals are left to their own devices they, as a matter of human nature, tend to overreach so as to maximize their compensation.

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If our part-time council is allowed to increase its salaries beyond California’s government code limits, then to guard against overreaching, it should only be allowed to do so subject to approval by its employers, its citizens — only do so if the charter also requires the electorate’s approval of such increases. One reason for No on Measure C is that it allows the council, free of any oversight, to become a law unto itself when setting its salary.

Harry Zavos
Glendale


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