The topic of pay raises for the mayor and the city commissioners seems to be of great concern and arises with seemingly increasing frequency. I briefly stated my opinion on WOOD radio this morning (http://www.woodradio.com/articles/wood-news-125494/huge-pay-raises-proposed-for-grand-13533715), and thought I’d share a little more on the subject.
To begin with, I would ask those continually requesting the increases, are you asking the right question? Grand Rapids has a weak mayor/strong city manager form of government. Instead of pay increases, should the question be: should we abandon the form of city government we have now and make the mayor more powerful, like New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles? If that were the case, then the pay would definitely be too low. So should those pushing for higher pay perhaps rethink the whole question, rethink the form of city government, then come up with a pay increase proposal commensurate with the added power and responsibility, in a unified package?
I think that approach is too drastic, and think the present form of government has served Grand Rapids well and should not be changed. Would a more logical way to approach this issue be to have the pay for these public servants be indexed to the annual rate of inflation, starting at a TBD date, and be done with it? So we could end discussion on this topic once and for all and get on to more important business?
I look at the offices of mayor and city commissioner as being a form of public service. As I stated to WOOD radio, I think the pay is fine as is.