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.