Council Passes Raise for Mayor, Future Councils

[listen here]
Jay Barrett/KMXT
After the next Kodiak City Council is sworn in, members, and the mayor, will be receiving a monthly stipend double what it is now. The vote was 4-1 in favor of the ordinance which would increase the council’s pay from $200 per month to $400, and the mayor’s from $250 to $500.
No citizens spoke during the public hearing on the matter. Councilman Charlie Davidson, who has spent most of the last couple decades serving on the council, was one of the sponsors.
“I feel it’s only fair for what the amount of work this council has been putting in the past year. And if anybody in the public doesn’t think it’s fair, I’ll be happy to show you what we do and why I feel like I do.”
Councilman Gabriel Saravia, another veteran councilman, laid out several reasons why he thought the raise was warranted.
“Some people they maybe need the money to live, maybe some people not have a good job, maybe some people not retired yet. And maybe it increases the opportunity to people to serve on the council. We have elections every year, you know they offer opportunities to everybody and I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Councilman Rich Walker said the doubling of the council and mayor’s pay would only bring them up to about the middle of what their counterparts in similar cities receive.
“We researched this, and this hasn’t been changed since 1984. We’re the sixth largest city in the state right now? And we went through the list of all the councils working through all the major cities in Alaska and found out we were on the very low end of the totem pole. I don’t even know if we ranked on there it was so low. You know, what we’re asking for here is just an increase up to about the mid range of what other communities are getting for the same type of value of work.”
Councilman Terry Haines said an increase of workload warrants a raise, and added that it may be the impetus that would bring out more candidates.
“Well we did have a lot of discussion about this, and we’ve been talking about it for years, frankly. But it’s been an awfully long time since it’s been raised, and the amount of time commitment and effort commitment has frankly increased in the time I’ve been on the council. I think what really convinced me, though, was that in the future I really think there are members of the community who might serve, but yet are unable to because of the time commitment because they have to do something else. And this might allow some members of our community to serve who can’t now.”
Councilman Randy Bishop was the only member to vote no on the raise:
“I don’t support the fact that this is used as a marketing tool for people to accept this position. I believe people should accept this position for their dedication, heart and love for the city.”
And with Councilman John Whiddon absent, that’s how the voting broke down, with the raise passing 4-to-1 and Bishop dissenting. The raises go into effect on November 1st.

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