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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mayor, City Council members deserve pay raises, commission says

Atlanta City Hall
  • Caronsmc/Wikimedia Commons
  • Atlanta City Hall
A blue-ribbon commission is expected today to tell an Atlanta City Council committee that they, their colleagues, and the mayor deserve hefty bumps in pay. Which must be a very nice thing to hear!

WAGA says the City Council's Finance and Executive Committee will be told by a commission that looked into "fair compensation for Atlanta's elected officials" that the elected officials — who are expected to work part-time but will tell you the job quickly overtakes their lives — should earn more than $60,000. Currently they're paid around $39,000, WAGA says. And according to the group, the the City Council president's salary should increase from $41,000 to $62,000, WXIA says.

The commission, which includes an attorney, a financial executive and several community advocates, also thinks the mayor should see his or her salary increase from $143,000 to more than $180,000.

Councilmembers would vote on the proposal, which WAGA says would take effect in 2014.

Personally, I'm a bit divided on the issue. When I look at the Georgia General Assembly's members, nearly all of whom are considered part-time and earn around $17,000 each year for their service, I often think higher pay would attract a better, more serious crop of candidates for the job.

But I also understand the argument that policymakers should be a part of the community so they can view problems from a citizens' perspective rather than a City Hall insider. And $60,000 seems like it'd make things much easier for councilmembers to quit their day jobs and become professional politicians.

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