SLO Council votes for pay increases

May 21, 2014
Christine Dietrick

Christine Dietrick


The San Luis Obispo City Council awarded itself a pay raise Tuesday evening, and a couple hours later, also gave its top attorney a bump in pay.

The council twice voted 3-2, with council members Dan Carpenter and Kathy Smith dissenting to award the raises. Council members can now earn $4,800 more annually in total compensation, and the mayor’s pay can increase by $6,000 a year. Under the new pay structure, their base salaries will rise to $12,000 and $14,400 respectively.

City Attorney Christine Dietrick will receive a base salary increase from $168,000 to $175,006. The raise is her third in three years.

In January, Councilman John Ashbaugh told CalCoastNews he would oppose an increase in council pay if a city council compensation committee recommended one. The compensation committee indeed recommended one, but on Tuesday, Ashbaugh motioned to approve the recommendation and voted in favor of the bump in pay.

“I’m willing to support it as is,” Ashbaugh said.

Ashbaugh said he would like to see council members receive salaries equivalent to a percentage of the pay for the city’s lowest paid full time employee. That position has a salary of a little more than $40,000 a year, and council members could receive 50 or 80 percent of that total, Ashbaugh said.

Smith said council members deserve more pay but voted against the increase, saying people should not choose to serve on council for the money.

Two hours later, Carpenter, along with Smith, argued against the raise for Dietrick, saying it would lead to other employees demanding more pay from the city in upcoming negotiations.

“I guarantee you the union representatives are watching and listening very carefully tonight and they will use that against us in our negotiations,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter also said that the raise for Dietrick is an example of the council’s continual failure to contain the rising costs of city employee pay.

“This is Measure Y money,” Carpenter said.

But, as with council pay, the council majority of Ashbaugh, Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson and Mayor Jan Marx supported the raise for Dietrick.

Christianson said Dietrick is making considerably less than other city attorneys in California.

Marx said the council must pay Dietrick more or risk losing her to another city.

“This is a very competitive market for city attorneys,” Marx said. “She’s doing an excellent job, and she deserves a raise.”

City Manager Katie Lichtig, the city’s other council-appointed employee, had the opportunity to request a raise but did not do so. Lichtig receives a base salary of $221,520 a year and makes $313,031 in total compensation.

Mr. Holly

Citizens of Atascadero BEWARE. This is a perfect example of what will probably happen if you vote for an increase for your sales tax. The proposed ordinance will put the money into the general fund and be disbursed as council and staff sees fit. The only difference being that Atascadero has the lowest paid City Council in the county at $300 per month. The tax increase may be too much for them to resist putting their hand into the golden cookie jar.

Ashbaugh should be ashamed of himself for voting for the pay raise especially if he had stated that he wouldn’t vote for one. This may have confirmed that he is now a true politician by not honoring his word. He now will get around $14,000 a year for sitting on the council along with the pay and benefits from his other teaching job. Didn’t CCN just report that Ashbaugh recieved the highest amount of pay for being on the council along with his benefits?

Oh Dan Carpenter, please run for Mayor and put an end to this.


And they expect city residents to vote for Measure Y……good luck on that one.


Three words. “Out of Control”.

Human Reason

How can the Majority of Council justify giving a raise to someone who has given the City such bad legal advice and cost the City so much money. Deitrick is NOT qualified to be City Attorney. This is so disgusting in so many ways.


You ask How, that is easy to answer, because in the minds of Marx and company Deitrick is doing a good job covering and supporting them on all their questionable issues, an they can’t let her go because once Deitrick leave the truth might come out about their acts. Deittrick might be smart on one item, knowing she has the council over a barrel and can ask for whatever she wants.


What a tangled web we weave………..shame on you…c Johnson, smuckler and irons!


You may be right but I am not paying attention because massive unbroken blocks of text are a pain to read. It would also help if you saved your views for comments on a more appropriate article.


The “massive unbroken blocks” aren’t quite as painful as the pain caused by the massive unbroken blocs concerning the voting records of Irons, Schmuckler and C. Johnson. And I’m sure Giveme would have gladly posted this on a more appropriate article if there was one to be found…..


No big deal just take more money from the (almost) have nots to give to the haves so the really have nots can keep their welfare. That is what government is all about!

This is why I shop on the internet and not locally. Still a few places that don’t charge sales tax and it comes right to my front door.

I vote against tax increases, but my vote doesn’t seem to matter. As a result I refuse to shop locally and support these robber barons.

They say it’s no big deal only half a cent, right! But who gets that half a cent, the people who say it’s no big deal, get it that’s who, and it amounts to quite a good bit for them.


Animal farm


Nailed it!

slo Fact Finder

It’s only money and it’s not the public’s money anymore ! Our Measure ‘Y’ retail tax revenues will indeed support many additional pay & associated benefit increases for the SLO City staff for many years to come, now that it’s almost certain that the additional retail sales tax will be a “forever tax” for essential city services ! Ha, ha, ha !


“She’s doing an excellent job, and she deserves a raise.” Oh, come on Ms Mayor — how can you say that? It’s been one legal fiasco after another. The pay is obscene. If she wants to jump ship to some other city, let her. These people just don’t have any common sense or decency. I can’t vote for either of these bums — Marx or Christianson — after their weekly performances of late.

Mr. Holly

This only reports the City Attorney’s pat. I wonder what the bottom line is for the city when it comes to paying not only for the City Attorney but for the outside legal assistance that is required?


Come on now, their preparing her for her move to the OCSD.


At least the voters now know where the Measure Y money is going, and if they vote for it again in November they can’t say they didn’t know.


wanna bet?

PR spin on Measure Y part deux coming soon.

Money for schools, for children, for the love of our city. More tax the evil rich who consume and purchase things – it’s only half a penny, that’s nothing for the value that you will receive from beloved government.