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KCMO City Council will consider pay raises for members, mayor

Posted: 10:32 PM, Jun 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-27 07:38:32-04
KCMO City Council chambers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A pay raise could be on the horizon for city council members and the mayor in Kansas City, Missouri.

Council members currently make $61,600 for the part-time gig, while the mayor receives an annual salary of $123,000. Both offices also include a monthly car allowance.

Under a proposal from outgoing Council Member Jermaine Reed, the new council would make $70,700 and the incoming mayor, Quinton Lucas, would get a raise to $141,500.

While city employees have received yearly pay increases, city council and mayoral salaries have not been adjusted since 2010.

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"Given the fact there has not been an increase in eight years, I thought it was appropriate to recommend an increase for the incoming mayor and council," Reed said.

He added the increase averages out to just under 2 percent per year.

The argument isn't persuasive to everyone inside City Hall. Some are uncomfortable that seven current council members would end up voting on their own salary increases.

Council Member Heather Hall, one of the returning members, is among those concerned about a conflict of interest.

"If it legally is or isn't, I don't know," she said, "but it sure is perceived to be that way. And that makes me uncomfortable."

Council member Quinton Lucas, who would be voting on new mayoral salary, said the increase is unnecessary.

"We sign up for these jobs to do public service," he said. "You know what the salary is when you're running. I understand where the proposal is coming from, but it's not something I support."

Finance and Governance Committee Chair Scott Wagner echoed Hall's concern about members voting on their own compensation. He would be open to a proposal with a later start date.

"Maybe it impacts the 2023 term and then on into the future so nobody has a vested interest in how that goes," Wagner said.

Obligations vary by city, but KCMO council members currently make significantly more than council members in Nashville, where the part-time salary is $23,000, and in St. Louis, where members make in $37,000.

"There are some municipalities and council members in those municipalities who would love to get paid what we get paid, and I don't blame them because our primary opportunity is to give to the position, not worry about how we're compensated," Wagner said.

Full-time city council members in Milwaukee make $73,000 and those in Minneapolis make $99,000.

Reed's ordinance will be discussed at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday.