Council raises salaries right before deadline
The fourth time proved to be the charm, as a vote to raise salaries of Blue Earth city council members passed at a special meeting last Monday night.
The vote was 4-3 to raise the salary of the mayor to $250 per month, and council members to $225 per month, in 2009. Councilmen Dan Brod, Rick Scholtes, Les Wiborg and Glenn Gaylord voted ‘yes’ and Councilmen Richard Maher, John Huisman and Mayor Rob Hammond all said ‘no.’
The council had voted down a pay increase at two earlier meetings, and had turned down a similar increase to the one passed Monday at a meeting the week before.
That failed vote had been an amendment to a motion to raise the salaries just 3 percent. The amendment, proposed by Councilman Brod, lost on a 3-3 tie. The vote for a 3 percent hike failed 5-1.
Councilman Maher questioned why it was being brought up again. “We have already voted on this twice,” he said. “Do we have to keep bringing this up until it passes?”
Mayor Hammond said that normally once something is voted down it is not brought up for a decision again. He added however, that since the first vote on this salary increase was actually made on an amendment to a motion, the city attorney had advised that it could be properly discussed again as a motion on its own merit.
Brod said he felt it was important to bring it up once more because it had been a tie vote the first time and now all seven council members were present.
Any increases in council wages had to be decided now, or wait two years. A vote to increase the salaries has to be passed before July 1 of an election year. It was done on June 30, just before the deadline.
The Blue Earth council salaries had been set at $2,864 for the mayor, and $2,546 for council members, in 2006. The raise will put pay at $3,000 for the mayor and $2,700 for the council.