Future City Commissioners Could See Possible Pay Raise

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Will our city leaders be receiving a bump in pay?

The Elected Officials Salary Task Force recently suggested future Bowling Green city commissioners and mayors receive a pay increase.

The commissioners' compensation would increase from their current $12,000 salary to the lower $20,000.

The mayor's salary would jump from $15,000 to the mid-$20,000's to upper $30,000's.

Brian Strow splits his time between being a professor and a city commissioner.

He gets the modest $12,000 a year for being a city official.

"Most of the hours are actually done behind the scenes, not so much on Tuesday night at the commission itself," Strow said.

But future city commissions could see a substantial pay raise of up to $7,000.

However, Strow thinks that's a little much.

"I kind of questioned how big those increases were and if those larger salaries could be justified by looking at commissioners and mayors from second-class cities around Kentucky get paid," Strow explained.

Bowling Green resident Jo Ann Sowders says salary shouldn't be an incentive for city government.

"I think when you take those positions, the commissioners and all, that's a choice you make and you know what you make when you go in that position," she said.

Strow admits the job can be very time-consuming.

"In the number of meetings you have to go to, the number of public events you have to go to and the fact you're on call 52 weeks a year," Strow assured.

Still, Strow says money in the $20,000 to $30,000 range isn't warranted, especially with a city manager who runs Bowling Green's day-to-day operations.

Task force member Dr. Saundra Ardrey sees it a little differently.

She says it's important the commission is compensated properly.

"The task force decided this was an opportunity to do some educating to let our citizens know how effective the city commissioners are," Ardrey explained.

She also says the move would put the City Commission's salary closer to its counterparts in county government.

"Currently, the county-judge executive makes $96,000 and that compares to the mayor's $15,000. The magistrates' make $28,000 to the commissioners $10,000," Ardrey said.

Strow, who won't be running for re-election next year, says the commission should be paid for the work they do, but not more than anyone else.

"They're all part-time jobs. I have a hard time justifying any salaries in the high $20,000's or lower $30,000's a year," he said.

Strow added that the commission will vote on the salary boost in December.

The task force has also suggested elected officials' salaries are re-visited every four years.

ON THE WEB:

"Annual Pay for Mayors and Legislative Body Members in Second Class Cities"
"Results for the Public Opinion Survey about Elected Officials' Salaries"
"Evaluation of Compensation Level"
"Evaluation of Compensation Level Pg.2"
"Interview Questions and Answers for Mayors and Commissioners"
"Interview Questions Page 2"
"Interview Questions Page 3"


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