Gulfport City Council’s getting a larger pay raise than citizens expected.
Gulfport City Council voted 3-2 at its Mar. 1 meeting to raise their pay to $20,000 for mayor and $15,000 for council members. That’s an increase from the proposal Council approved at its Feb. 15 meeting, at which Council approved a pay raise, put forward by Vice Mayor April Thanos, that would have raised mayoral pay from $14,400 to $18,000 annually and council compensation from $10,800 to $13,500 per year.
A t the Mar. 1 meeting, Council was slated to vote a second and final time on the pay raises approved at the February meeting. At that meeting, Henderson had pushed for a $28,500 pay level for mayor and $23,000 per year for council members.
At the Tuesday, Mar. 1 meeting, the pay push took a twist.
Councilmember Michael Fridovich (Ward IV) introduced the $20,000 and $15,000 pay raise plan, an idea forwarded by Councilmember Christine Brown (Ward II) at the Feb. 15 that did not move forward.
It moved forward at the Tuesday meeting.
Brown, Fridovich and Henderson voted for the $20,000 and $15,000 pay levels.
“I’m standing by my numbers. I thought they were good numbers,” said Brown who looked at other Pinellas County jurisdictions and their pay levels for elected officials.
“I feel like its good place to be in the mix of all of the other cities in the area,” she said.
Vice Mayor Thanos and Councilmember Paul Ray (Ward III) opposed the new pay raise measure. They had voted for the Feb. 15 increase.
Thanos and Ray said the city should take the pay raise issue to a special committee or charter committee for review.
“I don’t think the council or Senate or anyone should be voting themselves a raise. It just looks disingenuous,” Ray said.
Because the Council changed the amount of the pay raise, they will have to vote a second time – at its Mar. 15 meeting – to finalize the pay raise.
The proposals also tie council and mayoral pay to cost of living increases for rank-and-file city workers. Under the proposed compensation package, if City of Gulfport employees get cost of living raises, the council will, too.
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