Possible Vote on Big Pay Hikes For Rochester Elected Officials
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A recommendation to more than double the pay for members of the Rochester City Council and the city’s Mayor is on the agenda for Monday’s Council meeting.
Second Ward Councilmember Michael Wojcik brought forward a proposal two weeks ago to have city staff study the impact of basing the pay for the elected officials on the community’s median household income and comparing the resulting increases and current pay levels to comparable Minnesota cities as well as the state’s three other First Class cities. The motion was approved by a 6-1 vote.
The report prepared for the City Council indicates staff determined the median income for a household of one person in Olmsted County is $65,500. Under the scenario proposed by Councilmember Wojcik, the pay for councilmembers would rise from about $21,700 per year to just over $52,500, while the Mayor’s salary would increase from about $37,600 to around $78,800. The staff report is also recommending the pay for City Council President be adjusted upward at a percentage above the rest of the City Council to reflect the position’s added responsibilities. That would boost the Council President’s annual salary from about $28,400 to almost $60,500.
The comparisons to the other Minnesota cities of First Class show the pay for the elected officials in Rochester would remain well below the salaries paid to the Mayors and City Councilmembers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, while the Mayor in Duluth is paid about $97,500 per your, but the pay for members of the Duluth City Council is less than $14,000 annually. Unlike Rochester, all three of those cities operate under a strong Mayor system.
City staff prepared comparisons to Woodbury, Bloomington, and St. Cloud. The Mayor of St. Cloud, which is also a strong mayor city, is currently paid more than Rochester’s Mayor at $50,000, but the salaries for the other elected officials in those three cities are far below the pay levels in Rochester. Most have salaries that are in the $12,000 to $14,000 range.
If the Rochester City Council approves the pay raise plan as presented in the staff recommendation, it would add about $250,000 to the city’s 2020 budget and would be covered by withdrawing funds from a $1.2 million contingency account.