The Glendale City Council recently held a special meeting to refer two measures to the ballot for the November special election.
But several key councilmembers were absent from the discussion.
On Tuesday, November 5, Glendale voters will decide if mayoral and council salaries should be increased as well as if the city should conform with the state’s recent change to primary election dates.
Currently, Mayor Jerry Weiers’ salary is $48,000, while councilmembers’ salaries are $34,000.
If voters approve the raises, on January 1 Weiers’ salary will increase to $68,490 and councilmembers to $52,685. These would be the first pay increases for Glendale’s mayor and council since 2006.
In comparison, according to council compensation commission research, Peoria annually pays its mayor $32,904 and its council $21,936. Elsewhere in the West Valley, the Surprise mayor is paid $46,000 and council $27,000.
Over in the East Valley, Mesa’s mayor annually makes $73,545 and council $40,582; Tempe’s mayor $59,472 and council $29,737; Chandler’s mayor $55,916 and council $32,743; and Gilbert’s mayor $43,631 and council $24,239.
The Phoenix mayor’s salary is the highest, at $87,998, while councilmembers receive $61,599. And in Scottsdale, the mayor is annually paid $36,000 and councilmembers $18,000.
At the special meeting, Diane McCarthy, the Glendale council compensation commission’s chairwoman, said, “We strongly believe this is a fair and equitable recommendation based on the median salary for all Glendale employees.”
According to the Resolution No. R19-81 document, the formula established by the city council compensation commission puts councilmembers’ salaries at 1% less than the median salary of city employees. And the mayor’s salary will be 30% greater than that of councilmembers. Salaries will change along with city employee compensation, and will be reviewed annually by either the city manager or a designee to ensure compliance.
Commission member John Crow, who lives in the Sahuaro District, said, “One of our objectives was to look at the current compensation and look at our plan and process as, sort of three key words, we wanted it to be consistent, we wanted it to be efficient and we wanted it to be fair. And when we looked at the way compensation had previously been structured, we found that it had not been changed for 13 years, so it was inconsistent.”
Council also discussed a change to primary election dates. In May the state changed the primary election date to the first Tuesday in August, beginning next year. Glendale is looking to continuously conform to this date and any future changes, according to City Clerk Julie K. Bower.
“I think this is really the catalyst to me that’s so critically important in why we do this. We don’t want to be opposing or conflicting with state law,” Weiers explained.
By conforming, he said, the possibility would be eliminated of a candidate challenging election results due to confusion over differences between state and municipal election dates.
As council is on recess until August, several councilmembers were notably absent at the special meeting: Jamie Aldama (Ocotillo District), Bart Turner (Barrel District) and Lauren Tolmachoff (Cholla District). Tolmachoff’s absence had been excused, Weiers said.
Only Weiers, Ian Hugh (Cactus District), Ray Malnar (Sahuaro District) and Vice Mayor Joyce Clark (Yucca District) were present.
But Bower said the special meeting couldn’t have been held later if they were to get the questions on the ballot in time. Otherwise, the proposals would have been held until the spring election.
In addition to voting unanimously to send the two proposals to the ballot, the mayor and three present councilmembers approved a resolution to hold the November election with Maricopa County.
According to the council agenda packet, election costs could range from $127,582 to $255,165. Required publicity pamphlets could cost between $12,000 and $15,000.
This being a nonelection year, however, funds have yet to be allocated for the election, Bower said. That will require further council action.
More details were not specified, and as of print, the city has not told The Glendale Star from where the funding could come or when a recommendation will be made to council.