City council rejects pay raise recommendation

MANISTEE — Manistee City Council members voted this week to reject a recommendation from a Compensation Commission that would have given future council members a pay increase.

Compensation for the mayor and other members of City Council is based on procedures set in the city charter, state statute and local ordinances; the mayor and council cannot approve changes to their own compensation.

The current salaries, which have been in effect since January 2009, for the mayor and City Council members are $4,774 and $3,713 per year, respectively. The Compensation Commission recommended an increase to $5,000 for the mayor and $3,875 for council members.

All council members voted to reject what would have been a pay raise for future members of city council.

“I know this goes to the future, 2019, but any money should stay in the budget — any money that we can grab for streets we should,” said council member Mark Wittlieff.

Mayor pro-tem Roger Zielinski agreed.

“I feel we’re going to be asking people to make sacrifices in all departments to make sure that we have a budget that’s sustainable. I think we need to lead by example,” he said.

The Compensation Commission also recommended a pay deduction for council members who missed more than six regularly scheduled council meetings or work sessions. However, city attorney George Saylor told council members on Tuesday that his opinion is that provision is not enforceable.

“The Compensation Commission is not able to reduce compensation, only the legislature can do that,” he said. “That part of the recommendation, I would suggest, you just ignore.”

Council member Lynda Beaton said she appreciated the work of the Compensation Commission

“But maybe it would have been helpful if they had been able to get an opinion from George Saylor before bringing this to council,” she said.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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