Voters spoke loudly last week: No raises in Glendale.
Proposition 424 asked to raise the salary of city council members by 55%, from $34,000 to $52,685, and the mayor’s salary by 43%, from $48,000 to $68,490.
The Mariciopa County Elections Department said 74% voted against the raises.
“The true question was whether the citizens wanted more than a part-time council,” said Councilman Ray Malnar. “The answer was loud and clear: Council positions should remain part time to avoid a large salary adjustment.
“For a part-time council position, the pay is adequate, though some small adjustments may be in order. Regardless of the pay, working long and hard to improve the quality of life of our residents is very rewarding.”
With just under 27,000 ballots counted or 22% of the total Glendale voters, Maricopa County Elections Department said 19,640 voted against the salary-increase proposition, with 7,050 voting for it.
“I’m voting no on the pay raise only because there isn’t a ‘hell no’ option,” J.D. McKim said, in a comment on councilmember Joyce Clark’s blog.
“What did they expect?” added Jan Turlock. “Take away our golf course, take away light rail, increased public transportation, trying to sell the cemetery, and then ask for a huge pay raise with the ability to continue to give themselves raises in the future?
“I think not.”
Language in the proposition would have taken future salary increases out of the hands of voters, linking salary increases to other city workers.
By an almost-as-large margin, Glendale voters approved changing the dates of the primary elections to conform with state law.
Some questioned the rapid speed Glendale council worked at to put the increase request on the ballot. “This process didn’t need to be rushed through to get on the November ballot,” said John Krystek, on Clark’s blog. “It could have been handled a little slower with more deliberation and placed on the next ballot for elections.”
Council held a salary workshop June 25. Mayor Jerry Weiers was present, as was Clark and councilmembers Jamie Aldama, Ian Hugh, Ray Malnar, Lauren Tolmachoff and Bart Turner.
At the workshop, Hugh nominated Jack Rose, Tom Traw, John Crow, Diane McCarthy and Vern Crow for the Council Compensation Commission. Those five were quickly approved.
The compensation committee met twice. At its second meeting, the committee voted that “Effective January 1, 2020, the annual salary for council members will be 1% less than the median annual salary of City of Glendale employees. The mayor’s salary shall be 30% greater than the council members’ annual salary.”
On July 12, council had a “special meeting.”Weiers, Clark, Hugh and Malnar were present. Aldama, Tolmachoff and Turner were not at the meeting.
Hugh made a motion, seconded by Clark to accept the recommendation of the Council Compensation Commission. It passed, 4-0, sending the commission’s recommendation to voters.
John and Vern Crow (who are not related), Rose, McCarthy and Traw also wrote letters supporting the raises included by the county as part of the information packet, “Arguments for Proposition 424.”
On her joyceclarkunfiltered.com blog, Clark raised the issue of what could be called “dueling PACs.”
Prior to the election, two political action committees emerged.
Many Glendale residents receive a mailing supporting the raises, from a group called “Best of the West.”
“A PAC called Best of the West was formed by some of the members of the Citizen Compensation Committee,” Clark wrote, In a blog titled “Is It Time?” on Oct. 16.
“I haven’t talked to them but I assume they felt passionately enough about the issue to advocate for council raises. That is their right just as much as those who have publicly come out in opposition to this issue. Nothing they have done is illegal.”
On a blog she wrote Oct. 22, Clark said another PAC was in operation.
“Well, the dark side is at it again. The other day I received a hit-piece mailer urging voters to vote against Prop. 424, city council pay raises,” she wrote.
“Who sponsored this blatant hit piece that contains a smidgeon of truth wrapped in a web of untruths? The mailer states, ‘Paid for by Arizonans 4 Fair Government.’
“I checked with our city clerk and this PAC has not registered with the city of Glendale to reflect the expenditures made for this very recent mailer.”
There is a Twitter account for Arizonans For Fair Government, @az4fairgov. However, it does not accept messages and lists no contact information.
Clark suggested state Sen. Paul Boyer (D-20) is associated with the group, as its Tweets are “all about Paul Boyer and only Paul Boyer.”
The Glendale Star left a voicemail and emailed Boyer, asking him if he is associated with Arizonans 4 Fair Government. He did not respond by press time.
The Glendale Star also reached out to Clark to ask for clarification on her PAC statements and the other councilors and Weiers regarding the election results. At press time, only Malnar responded.