Task force to review pay for city officials

CHAMPAIGN — A group of former mayors, a former city councilman and other community members will examine and possibly recommend changes to how much city council members and the mayor get paid.

This week, members were appointed to the "city council compensation task force," which convenes every six years to act as an advisory committee as the council considers what the city's elected officials should be paid.

The group will meet by the end of July, said City Manager Steve Carter, and its work is scheduled to be complete by the end of August. The city's human relations department will conduct a survey of comparable cities to aid the task force in making its recommendation.

Two former mayors, one former city councilman and four community members will make up this year's task force:

— Former mayors Robert Dodd and Dannel McCollum

— Former council member J.W. Pirtle

— And community members: Pastor Willie G. Comer Jr. of Berean Covenant Church; Peter Fox of Fox Development Corp.; Danelle Jameson, owner of Circles Boutique; and Peggy Moot, administrator for CMT Ventures.

"I spent 20-some years on the council, and I know that most times they do a good job," Pirtle said. "Most times they are underrated with their pay."

He said it's a full-time job, and then some.

"You have to answer 24/7 to your constituents," Pirtle said.

Right now, the eight city council members receive an annual $5,000 stipend. In Urbana, aldermen earn just under $6,000 last year.

Mayor Don Gerard is paid $35,000 in Champaign, which operates under a part-time mayor, full-time city manager form of government. Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, who is a full-time mayor and the city's chief administrator, made just more than $60,000 last year.

The city council will make the final decision on compensation and may reject or accept the task force's recommendations at its pleasure. In fact, only once in the four times the task force has met has the city council accepted its recommendation.

That was in 2006, when the council raised their salaries from $4,000 per member and $25,000 for the mayor to their current levels. Before 2006, their compensation had not been changed since 1988.

"These are always difficult things to talk about," Carter said.

Comments

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CJ Williams wrote on July 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I could have sworn that CM Bruno and Dodds were against police raises because there was no money for them.  Hopefully they will be against these raises too.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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The Urbana mayorship is not full-time, and it's not the "city's chief administrator." It's a half-time job. Urbana is a city manager/professional staff type government. In Urbana the city manager is titled Administrative Officer. 

 

This is all codified, and has been so since Hiram Paley's administration in the mid-70s.

 

That Laurel Prussing continues to ignore the law is no surprise. Similarly, Hugo Chavez  ignored & sought to change Venezuela's constitution to ensure himself more power and a longer tenure. The News-Gazette wrote accurately about this issue in the past, but Prussing bought the reporter who wrote it.

gftst wrote on July 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Hey Rob you might want to post some evidence to back up your statement about Urbanas mayor. I have read in places more than just the News-Gazette that Urbana is not a City Manager form of government, and to accuse the reporter of being bought to write an article a certain way...thats stepping over the line... come on...

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm
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I think you misunderstand what's going on here.  

 

I didn';t accuse this reporter of being bought off. His predecessor, the one who more accurately described Urbana's mayor as a half-time employee, and frequently badgered the current mayor about the unfilled administrative officer position, was hired by the current mayor. He got a big pay raise and stopped asking hard questions.

 

Here's the code you wanted.

Sec. 2-53. Office created.

There is hereby created the office of administrative officer.

(Code 1975, § 2.77; Ord. No. 7475-93, § 2, 4-21-75; Ord. No. 7879-12, 7-17-78)

http://www.urbanaillinois.us/citycode/10203005

 

 

Sec. 2-54. Qualifications.

The administrative officer shall have qualifications substantially equivalent to a city manager, including educational and professional training or experience in administrative and management principles and procedures.

(Code 1975, § 2.77; Ord. No. 7475-93, § 2, 4-21-75; Ord. No. 7879-12, 7-17-78)

http://www.urbanaillinois.us/citycode/10203006

rsp wrote on July 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm

 

From the Urbana City website:

  • Duties are defined by state law for Urbana's mayor-aldermanic form of government.
  • The mayor is the chief executive of the city.

Maybe it's changed?

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm
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No, it hasn't changed. The political officers must still vote to approve & enact the recommendations of the professional staff.  But that page also states that Urbana has 14 aldermen, which hasn't been the case for a long time.

thelowedown wrote on July 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Rob, Urbana does not have a council-manager government. Urbana has a council-mayor form of government. 

http://www.urbanaillinois.us/citycode/10200000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=802&ChapterID=14

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 13, 2012 at 3:07 am
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Correct.  

 

But the strong mayor form versus managerial form distinction, while relevant here, doesn't dispose of, or speak to, the point: The Urbana mayorship is a half-time job, and Urbana's professional government is*, by law, led by an administrative officer with qualifications substantially equivalent to a city manager.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*well, okay ... should be.

 

 

 

rsp wrote on July 13, 2012 at 3:07 am

I think it says a lot that their website is so out of date. I gave up trying to find information on it.