Erie Council Takes Initial Vote to Raise Mayor's Salary by $30,000
By a 4 to 3 vote, Erie City Council directed it's solicitor to draft an ordinance calling for the mayor's salary to be raised from $65,000 to $95,000 a year, effective in 2014.
It's been 16 years since the salary of the mayor has been increased. Supporters of the raise say it's not fair that 82 city employees currently make more than the mayor.
"I think we need good leadership. And I think that there are some good leaders who don't even consider the position of Mayor of Erie because of the salary," said Councilman Joe Schember.
Opponents of the raise say there never has been a problem getting qualified people to run.
"We've had a Ph.D. We've had people with Master's degrees. We have lawyers running. And there's always about 4-5 people running, not only for the mayor's position, but the council's position," said Councilman Pat Cappabianca.
Council President Jessica Horan-Kunco says it is not the time for the city to give any raises, given it's current financial condition.
"The raise today for the mayor, $30,000, is approximately what a median household income in the City of Erie is living on today," she said. "So we're asking the citizens to pay the mayor's salary through their tax money to pay the mayor as much as they're making. In a raise. It's just too much."
Council must take two more votes on the raise before it becomes official. The final vote is expected in mid-November. There will be public outcry, but don't expect Schember to change his vote.
"I'm doing what I believe is right. I'm not a career politician. So if people don't like what I'm doing, don't vote for me when I run for re-election," he said.
Horan-Kunco says she would not be surprised if the raise is repealed after a new council is elected in the Fall.
Again, the proposed raise would not take effect until 2014. Mayor Joe Sinnott's current term expires in 2013.