Duluth City Council approves $20K raise for Mayor

By KBJR News 1

November 25, 2013 Updated Nov 26, 2013 at 12:37 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Mayor of Duluth is on his way to becoming one of the highest paid Mayor's in the state.

This after the Duluth City council approved a move on Monday boosting the Mayor's salary 25%.

It's first pay raise for the city's leader in 14 years.

Many councilors said the reason why the Mayor's salary hasn't been raised since 2000 is because it's always a controversial and a hot button issue.

But nonetheless, the council approved the pay raise in a vote of 5-3.

Right now, The Mayor is paid $77,800, but beginning on December 1st, 2013, the Mayor will receive a raise of nearly $20,000 bringing the amount to $97,500.

In the original recommendation, City Councilor Sharla Gardner requested the salary raise be retroactive to January 1st 2013.

But an amendment by Councilor Emily Larson removed the retroactive component, setting the Mayor's new salary for December 1st, 2013.

Speaking on behalf of Mayor Ness, Chief Administrator David Montgomery said the Mayor was supportive of Councilor Larson's amendment, while other councilors remained mixed on the recommendation.

"When he [Mayor Ness] saw this provision coming forward, this amendment coming forward, he just wanted to pass on, that he is supportive of that and would support that amendment of removing the retroactive component," said Chief Administrative Officer, David Montgomery.

"By charter, the Council is supposed to be reviewing and setting the Mayor's raise," explained councilor Linda Krug, "and for almost a decade and a half, fourteen years, the council has not done its duty, has not done its responsibility and I think that's wrong."

"I have no issue with giving the Mayor a bit of a raise, maybe a one-two-three percent raise, but a 25% is a bit over the top for me," said councilor Jim Stauber.

Councilors Jim Stauber, Patrick Boyle and Howie Hanson voted against the pay raise recommendation. Councilor Jay Fosle was absent from Monday's meeting.

The council approved a resolution to select a committee that would review the Mayor's salary every two years moving forward.

The committee will be comprised of city councilors and three community members.

Comparing Minnesota Mayor Salaries:

So how does Duluth's mayor new salary stack up to others in his position across the state?

According to research by Minnesota Monthly, here's a look at what other Mayors across Minnesota take in a year.

Minneapolis Mayor RT Ryback gets $102,906 or $0.26 per citizen.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman earns $111,146 or $0.38 per citizen.

The Mayor of Rochester, Ardell Brede receives about $33,123 or $0.30 per citizen.

The Mayor of Duluth will be receiving $1.13 per citizen.

Jeremy Brickley
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