In the midst of extreme financial burdens in our community caused by “these challenging times” (a euphemism for tyrannical rule) where our neighbors have lost their businesses, lost their jobs and can’t pay their mortgages, our Mayor last night voted herself a 25% raise and the council a 33% increase in annual compensation.
It shouldn’t matter that surrounding cities like Orono, Medina and Wayzata all have compensation for their councils at, or lower than, Minnetrista’s level of $4,800 for mayor and $3,600 for council. A council member in Orono got wind of the proposed increase in Minnetrista and had this to say about it:
As with all increases in Minnetrista, whether they are fees, taxes, assessments, etc., we heard Mayor Whalen minimize it, as we always do, taking the increase and dividing it by either the number of people, parcels, households or whatever suits the desired outcome to portray the increase as inconsequential. I think someone needs to inform her about basic math and when you add a bunch of small numbers together the sum is always bigger than the parts.
When I consider the last four years of service on the city council, the amount I made probably works out to less than what I made on my first job babysitting. But serving on the council is just that. It is serving. It’s not a salaried job to supplement one’s income or to expect an equal exchange between what is given vs. gotten.
I guarantee my remarks last night will not make it into the council minutes so I will leave them here:
“I realize there is never a good time to increase our own council salaries but I also am sensitive to the very real financial difficulties people in our community are facing. I don’t think any of us do this for the money. It is a community service from my perspective and I trust it is for others. I can’t, in good conscience, increase council and the mayor’s compensation when I know my neighbors can’t pay their mortgage, have been laid off, or have had to close their businesses. I just can’t do that.”
As the last council meeting I attended I’m glad to have had the opportunity to vote No on this irresponsible and ill-timed proposal. The resolution to raise the compensation passed, however, 4-1.