Those who think they’ve done a good job and deserve a raise go to the boss and make their case.
Here in Glendale, the voters are the bosses.
The mayor and council members are asking you for 43-55% raises.
The Glendale City Council is made up of six council members elected from separate city districts and a mayor elected from the city at large.
Mayor Jerry Weiers is looking for a 43% bump in his salary.
Council members Joyce Clark, Jamie Aldama, Ian Hugh, Ray Malnar, Lauren Tolmachoff and Bart Turner seek 55% pay raises.
Perhaps just as important as the fiscal impact is the language on the ballot:
“Effective January 1, 2020, the annual salary for council members will be one percent (1%) less than the median annual salary of City of Glendale employees. The mayor’s salary will be thirty percent (30%) greater than council members’ annual salary. The city manager or the city manager’s designee will review the salary of the mayor and council members on an annual basis to ensure compliance with this formula.”
Linking the salaries of the mayor and council members to the rest of the city’s employees would effectively remove the power of the voters to approve or deny salary increases.
There are two ballot issues in what Glendale is calling a “Special Election”:
• An amendment to Article II, Section 8, of the Glendale City Charter relating to salaries of the mayor and council members.
• An amendment to Article IX, Section 5, of the Glendale City Charter relating to the time of holding primary elections.
On the former, a “Yes” vote would raise the salary of councilmembers by 55%, from $34,000 to $52,685. The mayor’s salary would increase by 43%, from $48,000 to $68,490.
On the second ballot measure, a “Yes” vote would change the dates of the primary elections to conform with state law. A “No” vote would keep Glendale primary elections as is, with the city holding primary elections “in even-numbered years on the eighth Tuesday before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.”
The election packet includes arguments for and against the salary increase.
Diane McCarthy of Glendale urged voters to approve the measure.
“When the current mayor and council took over the reign from the former Mayor the City of Glendale was close to bankruptcy,” McCarthy wrote.
“Today, seven years later, the current mayor and council administer a very robust and successful city. It is time for the council to have an increase in its salary.
“It is fair, tied to Glendale’s growth and well being.”
Gary Sherwood of Glendale is against the salary increases.
“The formula being used is based on the median annual salary of city of Glendale employees,” Sherwood wrote. “These employees have a job description and their pay is based on a 40-hour week. The mayor and council do not have a job description... and do not have any prescribed hours.”
The Glendale Star emailed the following questions to the mayor and council members:
“What would you say are some of your major accomplishments deserving of a salary increase?
“How many hours per week do you normally work?”
Weiers responded via email, stating, “On average I handle city business items seven days a week and at all hours of the day. Things pop up, phone calls, ribbon cuttings, funerals and items important to the city.
“I take pride in being a servant leader who serves when called not when convenient.”
As for accomplishments, the mayor of Glendale answered, “Seven years ago, the city’s bond rating was one step above a junk bond rating. This council stayed committed to fiscally conservative budgeting resulting in a AAA bond rating which allowed us to refinance bonds and save taxpayers over $72 million dollars.
“This council is proud to have fixed the city’s finances as well as mended bridges and rebuilt relationships.”
He cited settling the Conair lawsuit “in such a great way that they turned around and expanded their operations in Glendale by building a 1 million-square-foot facility. We settled the Cardinals and AZSTA lawsuit in a manner that resulted in the city and the Cardinals organization working together again.”
Weiers also said he is proud of helping build a library “promised to residents over two decades ago …
“I love what I do and am privileged to serve Glendale. A commission recommended the increases and it would certainly make our personal lives easier since the job is more than a full-time position,” Weiers said.
“Trying to find a job that works around the schedule to support our household is impossible.”
As of press time, Tolmachoff was the only council member to reply.
“I do not keep a log, but estimate that I work at least 40 hours each week,” the council member said.
In addition to items Weiers cited, Tolmachoff gave other examples of achievements by the council:
“Terminated 20-year, $15 million arena management agreement with Ice Arizona. This was a very controversial decision and had an unsuccessful recall filed against me as a result of my vote. After a competitive RFP process, awarded a contract to AEG Worldwide which has resulted in a cost of less than $4 million to operate the arena.
“First city in the Valley to convert all streetlights to LED, which will save $674,000 in electricity costs annually. Additionally, received a rebate from Arizona Public Service in the amount of $431.795.
“Established a Business Sub Committee to cut red tape and increase efficiency for business that wish to open or expand in Glendale. I am serving as a member of that committee.
“As a result of the city’s improved reputation, since 2014, we have been able to attract a total capital investment of $577,060,000, which included facilitation of 7,516 jobs.
She also cited several “personal accomplishment” items: the initiation and adoption of a Scenic Corridor Ordinance along the 101 Loop from 51st Avenu to Bell Road (“This will protect the views and prevent billboards and signage in that corridor”); funding for cleanup and maintenance of Skunk Creek Wash; and serving on the Valley Metro RPTA Board of Directors since 2016.
Tolmachoff said she is “accessible and responsive to residents, including weekend and after hours.”
Voters are encouraged to return ballots by mail no later than Oct. 29, to ensure that ballots are received ahead of the deadline. Ballots can also be dropped off at Glendale City Hall, 5850 West Glendale Avenue, until 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.
Residents can check their voter registration status by visiting this link: https://recorder.maricopa.gov/earlyvotingballot/voterregistrationlookup.aspx.
For more information visit maricopa.vote or call the city of Glendale Clerk’s Office at 623-930-2252.