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Minneapolis City Council approved $10,000 raises for new council, mayor

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Starting in January, council members will be paid at a rate of $98,696, up from the current pay of $88,695.

During its final meeting of the year — and with five members taking their final votes as council members — the Minneapolis city council approved a $10,000 raise for the next mayor and members of the next city council.

The resolution also put the mayor and council members on a schedule to get annual raises over the next four years, in line with raises granted city employees through collective bargaining. Current Mayor Betsy Hodges is paid $116,528 a year. Mayor-elect Jacob Frey will be paid $126,528. Starting in January, council members will be paid at a rate of $98,696, up from the current pay of $88,695.

The pay raise resolution was not on the council’s pre-meeting agenda and the resolution had not passed through the Ways and Means Committee or any other standing committees. It was also not subject to public comment. Instead, it was walked onto the final meeting agenda at the beginning of the December 15 meeting by Council President Barbara Johnson.

The motion passed on a unanimous voice vote. Council Member Abdi Warsame was absent.

“We talked before how challenging this work can be,” Johnson said, referencing the ceremonies earlier in the meeting honoring outgoing council members and Hodges. “We have fallen behind, as council members, in some really challenging times.”

During the Great Recession, neither elected officials nor city workers received raises. Those workers — both management and union-represented — have received raises in the last several budgets, while the council and mayor have not, Johnson said.

The proposed raise would put Minneapolis council members’ pay on par with those in Denver and Boston but behind Portland and Seattle. St. Paul pays its mayor $126,000. Hennepin County commissioners made $110,796 this year and will make $113,566 in 2018. Commissioner Jeff Johnson took a salary of $108,093 this year and will keep that pay level in 2018.

On Dec. 8, council approved its $1.4 billion budget for 2018, which did not contain money for the elected officials’ pay raises. To account for the $140,000 lump-sum needed for the pay hike, the budget had to be amended;  the resolution granting the raises did so by taking $50,000 from the City Coordinator’s budget; $30,000 from Finance and Property Services; $10,000 from the City Clerk; $10,000 from the Health Department; $20,000 from Community Planning and Economic Services; $10,000 from Human Resources; and $10,000 from Regulatory Services.

Correction: Jacob Frey returned to the council dais just before the voice vote was taken on the pay raise. He voted yes. This story originally stated that Frey had left the meeting and did not vote for the raise.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 12/22/2017 - 01:35 pm.

    Let me get this straight.

    The current council members, with no mention of pay raises in pre-meeting agenda, just decided to give themselves and future “public service” folks a 10%+ pay raise with the public’s money. I like that it wasn’t debated just voice voted in. Welcome to “public service” in 2017!!!

  2. Submitted by Michael Hess on 12/22/2017 - 02:04 pm.


    While some suspicious people might think it’s questionable and self serving for our local politicians to unanimously and “apparently” spontaneously vote themselves a large pay raise at the very end of the year after the budget process was already approved, and to easily find budget offsets within departments to pay for it, that’s just because it is!

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/22/2017 - 03:29 pm.

      That was my impression too, Mike. There was enough bloat in the budgets to fund a fat pay hike…no need for discussion, because…Done!

  3. Submitted by Patrick Larkin on 12/22/2017 - 04:36 pm.

    Pay them the avg wage

    Council members ought to be paid the average wage of a resident, or less, so they can adequately represent those they serve. A rent-paying council member whose rent has gone up 25% over their term might better understand the conditions those they represent live under than a council member who is part of a semi-elite class of residents. The 2010 census data says the average wage was something like $46,000 in Minneapolis (over twice what I make as a union worker and homeowner!). If the 13 council members and the mayor received this, we’d have an extra half million plus to use towards pursuing things like housing equity.

  4. Submitted by Henry Gowin on 12/22/2017 - 11:12 pm.


    If this action of the council was pre-arranged, it would be a violation of Minnesota’s open meeting laws. We need an investigation.

  5. Submitted by Ted Hathaway on 12/23/2017 - 09:31 pm.

    You get what you pay for…

    I was surprised at how little the mayor and council members were paid, considering it is their responsibility to govern a city of 400K people. Compare that with executives even of many nonprofits. How are suggestions we pay them the same wage of the “average” city resident in any way apples to apples? If, let’s say, a teacher, or a plumber, or a grocer store manager makes $52K. Sure, those are important jobs. They need to be done well. But seriously, are they in any way comparable to mayor or city council member? Would the skill level actually be equivalent? Of course not!

    Representative does not mean electing people who are the equivalent of the “average” individual. It means electing people who attempt to represent the best interests of the “average” individual. To get that, you need skilled people. They cost money. If you don’t offer it, you’re either going to get low quality, or rich people, like Trump and most of Congress. who don’t need it. Choose your poison.

  6. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/24/2017 - 09:29 am.

    “Would the skill level actually be equivalent?”

    Your call.

    • Submitted by Ted Hathaway on 12/25/2017 - 06:13 pm.

      I agree

      Cano is unqualified. She demonstrated that in her first term. Her unthinking pop-off habits are merely the other side of the same coin Trump is minted from. Her constituents get what they deserve by re-electing her. I stand by what I say, though: low pay tends to bring low quality. If the candidate doesn’t merit the pay, they shouldn’t be elected (or re-elected).

  7. Submitted by Barry Tungseth on 12/24/2017 - 09:56 am.

    Watch all the Metro area government bodies follow suit now.

    I`ve seen this kind of thing for years, as an employee of the Washington County Public Works department back in the 80s and early 90s. It is still going on to this day. The next move will be the fact all others will now claim that to keep up and retain the “best” within management of their government locations, they will have to raise themselves to the same level. So management will, from Commissioners down, vote themselves a nice raise.

    Raises in government should be left to the voters, because THAT is who they are elected by. Let the public decide if you do a good enough job to warrant a raise in pay. this should include all lawmakers, council members, mayors, commissioners, sheriffs, administrators, and so on and so on.

    Wish you could vote yourself a pay raise too? Why let these clowns do it?

  8. Submitted by Dan Belshan on 12/25/2017 - 10:36 am.

    Open meeting law violated?

    Google Mn data practices ipad will help!!
    They will also give an opinion

    Peter the reporter needs to follow up and could make them unwind the whole thing.
    Three violations of open meeting law they are out of office.

    Have they done this before? Approving items not on the agenda?

    Have a Merry Christmas

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