Whether you agree or disagree that it’s a real job, there’s no doubt anyone serving on a city council puts in a lot of hours. In Palm Springs, those hours are going to be worth a little more sometime in the near future.
The news: Most of the five current members of the Palm Springs City Council voiced support Thursday evening for giving future Council members a pay hike — from $29,196 annually to $41,600. Whoever sits in the mayor’s seat will get 20% extra due to higher demands for the role.
- The increases were recommended by city staff, which was directed to study the issue in July and set out to compare salaries paid in similar cities.
- In the Coachella Valley, city staff found Rancho Mirage led the way, paying its councilmembers $31,000 annually. It was noted that all neighboring cities were less complicated to lead, however, since they lack an airport and convention center.
At issue: Councilmembers didn’t propose the idea themselves, and most won’t be on the dais when the raises (the first in 15 years) would take effect. The recommendation flowed from a working group formed in 2018 that was tasked with identifying ways to reduce barriers to running for and working on the City Council.
- One of working group’s recommendations to encourage more residents to step up to the full-time hours required to serve on the Council was to offer more than part-time pay.
Up next: City staff will now craft ordinances the Council can review and eventually vote on (more work!) that will put the raises in motion. That should all be wrapped up by mid-October, and will be done in open session, allowing for full transparency.