Politics & Government

SLO City Council members give themselves a raise

The San Luis Obispo City Council recently voted 3-2 to increase its own salary by 20 percent. It is the first increase of council pay since 2007.

Starting in January 2015, council members will be paid $1,200 rather than the $1,000 monthly salary they earn now. The mayor will make $1,500 a month, 25 percent more than the $1,200 currently earned.

Council members will also now be entitled to an additional $200 monthly stipend if they opt out of medical, dental and vision insurance. Until this change, council members didn’t receive any stipend if they opted out of the coverage, said Monica Irons, director of human resources.

Currently council members Kathy Smith and John Ashbaugh receive medical, dental and vision benefits. Dan Carpenter and Carlyn Christianson receive dental and vision only and Mayor Jan Marx opts out of all three.

The council also can enroll in CalPERS, the city’s retirement plan. As of now, Councilman Dan Carpenter is the only council member not enrolled in it.

The council approved the raises at its May 20 meeting, with Carpenter and Smith casting the dissenting votes. Carpenter said he did so because he thinks of it as a volunteer position.

“You wait until you have a time in your life when you are able to perform this type of public service,” he said.

The council also increased the stipends members of the city’s Architectural Review Commission and Planning Commission receive. The stipends were increased from $50 to $60 per meeting, not to exceed $240 per month. That increase takes effect July 1.