The West Hollywood City Council, whose members haven’t had a raise since 2007, now may be getting a big one.
A proposal on the Council’s Monday night agenda would bump the monthly stipend paid to Council members from $825 to $1,237. That’s an increase of 50%, giving each of the part-time elected officials $14,844 a year.
That doesn’t include other cash benefits. Council members currently receive a flat $250 mobile telephone and fax allowance. The proposal would split that into a $150 monthly mobile phone allowance and $100 to cover travel expenses incurred while representing the city within L.A. County. That would bring the proposed annual compensation to $17,844. (Council members also are reimbursed separately for actually documented travel and/or entertainment on the city’s behalf.)
And then there are the health insurance and pension benefits. Currently they range from $21,589 a year for Councilmember John D’Amico to $13,443 a year for Councilmember Lauren Meister. The benefits vary for several reasons, including which health coverage options a council member chooses.
If the Council approves the pay raise, the total annual compensation and benefit package for the part-time council members would be $36,433 for John D’Amico, $33,823 for John Duran, $29,242 for John Heilman, $30,242 for Lindsey Horvath and $28,287 for Lauren Meister.
But that comes with a catch. Under state law a pay increase can’t be implemented until after the next election, which means that only Horvath and Meister are certain to benefit from the increase. The seats of council members John Duran and John Heilman are up for re-election in March 2017.
Meister said the idea for a raise came up in a closed session of Council members when they were discussing altering the telephone and fax stipend to include travel expenses. “Someone said that we haven’t had a raise in 10 years,” Meister said. “So I said we should add it to that discussion. If we were going to be looking at the one,
why don’t we look at the other?”
The Council last approved a raise for itself in 2005 (which took effect in 2007). Under state guidelines, it may increase its monthly compensation by up to five percent a year.
If the Council adopts the raise, West Hollywood’s City Council members will be paid substantially more than city council members in many other cities in the area according to a calculation based on the size of the cities’ populations.
For example, Beverly Hills, with a population of 34,883, pays each of its council members $9,430 a year with no guaranteed monthly expense payment. That works out to a cost per resident of 27 cents a year, compared to what will be 41 cents per resident for the West Hollywood City Council. Each of Manhattan Beach’s residents pay 17 cents annually in compensation for each council member.
Other cities used for comparison in a city analysis of the proposal are Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Redondo Beach and Santa Monica. In each of those cities the per capita compensation for city council members is substantially lower than that proposed for the West Hollywood City Council. For example, each Glendale resident pays 9 cents a year for each council member’s compensation while residents of Pasadena pay 12 cents. However those cities are unlike West Hollywood, Beverly Hiuls and Manhattan Beach in that they are charter cities, which means their city councils have greater control over some areas of policy making.
The council will consider the proposal at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the City Council Chambers, which are at 625 San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica.
Ummm… Spare me the BS spin about “well why not look at this too since we’re looking at that.” Say What? Come again. You think I’m new?
I’m a fan Lauren, et. al- you know that. And I’m not opposed to a raise, after all It’s been a decade. But don’t treat us like no nuttn nooks. Own it. In a public forum. And cut any pretense there’s even gonna be a meaningful debate. Just be real. It’s all good.
Mikey, the entire council and the city manager should absolutely take collective responsibility as the system became gradually dysfunctional ( infighting, campaigning, overpaid deputies, no supervision, no checks in hiring process, etc…). Only Meister and Horvath weren’t there yet but this isn’t about “pointing fingers” but a sense of responsibility.
“the dysfunctional deputy system created by them”
Rudolf Martin, which “them” are you talking about? Only Heilman was actually on the Council when the deputy system was created, you can’t point fingers at the other four when you cast blame.
While the city is about to pay millions due to the dysfunctional deputy system created by them (and the fallout of certain council members’ misconduct) it is an awkward time to talk about pay increases, however small. Is there really no sense of responsibility for the expensive mess brought upon us?
Marco Colantonio said it more elegantly above, I defer to his words of wisdom.
A raise to $1,300.00 is not unreasonable given the fact that most City Council members are putting twenty to thirty hours a week doing the public’s business. While it was always meant to be a part time position, historically most of our Council members have been very engaged and proactive and the public has come to expect a high level of visibility and service. I’ve seen John Heilman at City Hall after 11 p.m. and I know John D’Amico and Lauren Meister put in long hours. That takes a toll, particularly when you are self employed. On the other hand,… Read more »
Who is attacking his health insurance? Isn’t this about transparency. I have no time to waste playing your game Woody. Hank gave a clear answer how the disparity may come to be. That’s all. As a result, reader’s better understand the math to the final proposal that is on consent tonight.
Your “distracters” theory are true-to-form and, as usual, off topic.
“Why does D’Amico still ‘top out’ over Duran & Heilman”? …?? “I still don’t get why D’Amico is at the top”…?? Poor Councilmember D’Amico can’t seem to get a break from his attackers, even his health insurance is subject to attack. Petty distraction but sad commentary that speaks volumes about where the heads of Councilmember D’Amico’s distracters are.
I respect the hard work and commitment of all of our Councilmembers, but the timing for this discussion is beyond inappropriate considering it has been barely six months since three Councilmembers were elected. More so, It is shameful to see this item reach City Council Agenda when three out of five seated Council members have former deputies suing the City for wrongful termination, sexual and other forms of harassment. Furthermore, there is the question of constituent access to a part-time Council that does not maintain formal office hours. And then there is the issue of determining a permanent protocol for… Read more »
In the spirit of open government, this should NOT be on the consent calendar, and pared without sufficient debate. Given that council members have not had their pay adjusted for inflation for ten years, Im not per se opposed to doing so…but doing so without public input doesn’t look good when viewed through the lens of accountability; no matter how worthy. More problematic for me is the almost-simultaneous “tabling” of the proposed (and TRULY LOOONNG-overdue cost-of living adjustment to relocation fees for tenants displaced by re-development or “Ellised” rental units…to say nothing of tenants who have ZERO rent stabilization protection… Read more »
“But that comes with a catch. Under state law a pay increase can’t be implemented until after the next election, which means that only Horvath and Meister are certain to benefit from the increase. The seats of council members John Duran and John Heilman are up for re-election in March 2017.” — Staff. Hank, with the correction to when John D’Amico running in 2019 not 2017 as originally stated (thank you). Will D’Amico benefit like you pointed out Meister and Horvath. I think the article should show the breakdown by councilmember and how the total are arrived at. With different… Read more »
The differences in overall compensation likely are, for the most part, a result of individual council members’ choices as to health insurance coverage. If If a council members asks that his policy also cover his spouse, he will receive a larger benefit that would a single council member, who can only insure himself or herself. Another factor, as it is for all of us, is the choices they make among insurance plan options. I would assume that those choices, and a breakdown of their costs, would be considered private personnel information. And yes, all who are on the council after… Read more »
Staff brings an item for council raises on consent calendar without public input? Bull. A staffer was not driving to work and decided to give the city council members a raise. This was neatly tucked under staff to give the council members cover.
I don’t think they deserve a raise. Why should they be paid more than the Beverly Hills Council or any other City’s council? I get the feeling of “here we go again”. Their deputies were paid way more than necessary (waaaay more and yet they are suing for more) and now the part-time council is asking for more. They all have full-time jobs. They don’t need the money. They are getting benefits (probably duplicating what they get from their jobs unless they are self-employed). A 50% raise is just outrageous and kind of spits in the face of all the… Read more »