The populations of Duluth, Bloomington and Brooklyn Park are approximately 35,000 less than Rochester. As of earlier this year, the city council salaries in those three cities ranged from $11,000 and $13,000. Our council decided to double their salary from $21,000 to $42,000, with another increase in 2021 to make it $52,000. Rochester’s city council now makes 3-4 times the amount of money as in cities with populations close to Rochester.
I’m deeply disappointed in the Council’s refusal to think about the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and people in Rochester, specifically their demanding to keep their full salary while nearly everyone else is experiencing financial hardship on a scale previously unseen.
This is very poor leadership, particularly my opponent who was such a vocal champion of the raises. What’s worse, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, he called any reductions to council salaries “symbolic”.
The city council must have new leadership that hasn’t lost touch, and who don’t put their pocketbooks first and their constituency second. If elected I will donate the pay raises to first responders, because people are hurting and elected officials need to lead.
The city council should never have voted to increase their own salaries in the first place. Obviously pay raises, per se, are not inherently unwarranted. However a sudden, massive increase, voted upon by the council, is not the proper process. There should be an amendment to the city charter keep this from happening in the future:
1. An impartial panel of individuals should be appointed by the Mayor to evaluate if pay raises are warranted. If they are, decide a fair increase and approve by a majority vote.
2. Salary increases should be annual, or bi-annually just after elections have occurred.