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Duluth Mayor Ness turns down 25% pay raise, says timing isn’t right

The City Council approved the increase Monday, but the mayor said that this isn’t the time to raise his pay from $78,000 to $97,000.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness said Tuesday morning that he won’t accept a 25 percent pay raise granted to him by the City Council.

Ness wrote on his Facebook page:

After a long and prayerful night, Laura and I have decided not to accept the raise passed by the city council last night. I will explain my rationale later today, but I am absolutely convinced this is the right thing to do.

The council had approved the raise from $78,000 to $97,500 on Monday, noting that the mayor’s pay hasn’t changed since 2000. If the mayor’s pay rate had been calculated in the same  way as that of city union workers, it would have been up to $103,000, supporters said.

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Ness noted that he doesn’t disagree that the mayor’s salary should be adjusted but said now is not the time.

I do believe that the mayor’s salary should be adjusted — but that would be most appropriately done after the next election. I think it is very important that this important policy decision be made with the position in mind and not the person hopefully taking this action will help separate the issue.