Emergency Manager Releases Statement on Mayor, Council Salaries
Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley released a statement Monday night on the salary to the Mayor and City Council members. In the statement, it was pointed out that the mayor and city council did not in fact receive raises, as had been reported, but a partial restoration of their charter approved salaries.
“They are receiving more of their previous compensation, yet still less than the level set by the Local Officers Compensation Commission, as prescribed by City Charter,” said Earley. “When Emergency Manager Mike Brown was first appointed in December of 2011, he suspended the salaries of the Mayor and City Council. Later that same month, partial restoration of salaries was provided, with the mayor being restored to 60% of his previous pay and City Council members receiving $7000 annually for the roles,” Earley continued.
With this partial restoration of salary came a partial restoration of responsibilities. For the Mayor this meant active participation in the areas of economic development, intergovernmental affairs & policy, community & citizen engagement and the master planning process. For City Council this meant the regular engagement of constituents through ward meetings and monthly public meetings to address issues as directed by the Emergency Manager.
In April of 2013, City Council members were also directed by then Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz through executive order to attend Michigan Municipal League training to complete Level One of MML core courses for municipal government and receive the MML Education Award within one year. This training was identified as a needed benchmark for preparing elected officials for the eventual transition out of receivership. Emergency Manager Earley confirmed this order upon his appointment. All elected officials have completed this training.
Beginning in late January and early February of 2014, City Council members were given the added responsibilities of special council committee appointments. These committees were created to address the areas of public safety, public works, legislative affairs, planning & development and finance & administration. These committees were extensively involved in the two year budget planning process and worked with department heads and staff over the course of 40+ hours of meetings to address their respective areas. Because of these increases in member responsibilities, City Council salary was further restored to $10,500 annually, a level still below that of pre-financial emergency status.
Mayor Dayne Walling’s responsibilities were increased in June of 2014 to include the direct supervision of day-to-day operations of the departments of Public Works and Planning & Development, in addition to his previously outlined duties. As a result, the Mayor’s salary was also further restored to $82,500 which is also below his pre-financial emergency compensation level.
The salaries of both the Mayor and City Council are set by the Local Officers Compensation Commission under regular conditions. This commission is given the authority under the City Charter to set levels based upon data gathered on local, regional and national economic conditions. The commission met in 2011 and set the current level of compensation for local elected officials at $19,906 for council members and $91,801 for the Mayor, a 10% decrease from levels set in 2009.
The most recent partial compensation restorations by the Emergency Manager still fall under the levels set by the LOCC in which a 10% decrease had been instituted and was still in place from 2011. “I understand the concerns that have been expressed over this issue; however, when taken in totality with the facts, I see it as a non-issue. I’m more concerned with the constructive involvement of the Mayor and the Council as we eventually transition the City of Flint back to home rule order,” Early concluded.