Atascadero council raises its own pay

August 13, 2015

atascadero_sign_photoThe Atascadero City Council awarded itself a raise Tuesday, doubling the pay for council members and more than doubling the mayor’s compensation. [Tribune]

The raise will be the first for the Atascadero council in more than 30 years. It will not affect the current council, though, because it is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

Council member stipends will increase from $300 to $600 a month. The mayor’s stipend will rise from $300 to $700 a month.

Also, the monthly stipends for the city clerk and city treasurer will increase from $200 to $400.

The council voted 4-1 to approve the pay increases. Councilman Bob Kelley dissented.

Council members said they were increasing pay in order to encourage more members of the community to serve on the council. In particular, they would like to see younger people from working families serve on future councils.

A city staff report stated Atascadero and Grover Beach currently pay its council members the least among cities in the county. Grover Beach council members also receive $300 a month.

In Arroyo Grande, council members receive $405, and the mayor gets a $500 stipend. The council members and mayor in Morro Bay receive $500 and $700 respectively.

Paso Robles pays its council members $600 and its mayor $800. Pismo Beach council members receive $514.80 a month, and the mayor makes $814.80.

San Luis Obispo pays its elected officials the most in the county. Council members receive $1,200 a month, and the mayor earns $1,500.


Well, at least we know why the push for the sales tax increase, and for making sure it goes into the general fund so they idiots can spend the way THEY feel best serves Atascadero. What a bunch of idiots as they draw they pensions from other jobs!


People are funny. They bitch when they don’t get the official they want. Then you get someone willing to step up and ask for a little compensation and we bitch about that. Old adage, you get what you pay for.

I can’t believe anyone runs for this especially after listening to all the whining here. Who in there right mind would do this for free or $300 bucks a month. Not worth it.


Well, maybe if you see what their travel budget is for lunch, travel, all the invites in town, etc. and the “little specials” they get for their decisions. If you look at this Council they are are just about all retired, like O’Malley, as head of probation for the County with his $50,000 plus pension. These are positions of service, if they don’t like it, don’t run. Obviously, you can’t keep them away as they keep coming back election after election and I am sure that it is not for the $300 or $600 a month.


So would you step up and run for a position in your city?


FYI the council also added optional dental and vision coverage for elected officials’ dependents, upping the city’s monthly contribution cost from a maximum of $582 to $662, depending on the plan.

The council currently has an option for city-paid life, medical, dental and vision benefits for themselves only, not dependents.

Also the City Clerk is also the Deputy City Manager making over $132,000 with benefits.


Has anyone driven down El Camino Real? Look at all of the empty store fronts. The fact that the city isn’t a bankrupt Ghost Town tells me that these people are doing something right. The City and Chamber need to partner to create a cohesive plan to get business in town. That includes tax incentives, relaxation of zoning ordinances, encouragement for manufacturing and industrial users to move in and more. Who has the time and skill to do that? Do you think that they actively do so for $300 each month?


Here’s a thought, “$300, that’s what the job pays, you don’t think it’s enough, don’t go after the job”. Or what program or department is now going to get less to pay the additional salaries? No mention of that.


So who that is qualified, with time to commit and the other necessary skills will pursue it at $300 per month? I am certain that the waste in the budget exists that reductions can be made, but, don’t confuse the 2 issues, they are not related. The salary of the Asst. City Manager is also not relevant. If you want leadership with the skills to get the job done, it isn’t coming at $300 per month. Try your approach with your doctor, lawyer, plumber, mechanic or at the grocery store. You will be sick, in jail with leaking pipes. When you get out, you wont be able to get a job because your car doesn’t run and you will be hungry as well.


Are you actually saying everyone who has sat on a city council has “skills” ?? Yeah, just not the right “skills”.

Comparing a Ass. City Manger to a council seat, really????

And to take you doctor, lawyer and such approach, fine when you choose a doctor or lawyer, the money you spend is yours and you “vote” as to whom you are going to give your money too and if what you got back was worth it, so then you must be for asking the voters how much of their money they want to give, and come the next election they can decide if they got their moneys worth.


Doesn’t matter what the clowns on city council do about stimulating business in Atascadero, it won’t work. Got to round up the current residents and bus them out of town. Bring in bus loads of people from some where else that have some money in their pockets! This is a foolproof remedy so it can even work in Atascadero.


I feel like these kinds of decisions need to be on a ballot for the residents of Atascadero to decide – not for the council members to vote in their own raise. I would like to know what each individual council member did to receive this raise, too.

Theo P. Neustic

Great! I’m glad all those permit fees that I’m forking over will go to a good cause rather than fixing the lousiest roads in the county.


“Council members said they were increasing pay in order to encourage more members of the community to serve on the council”, How about this idea, The current council members announce none of them will run for re-election, and before they leave office put a two term limit on all future council and mayor seats? Why is it always the only answer to every problem government says they are trying to fix is to throw more money at it?


This is such a pitch. There is a little local group (ask O’Malley, he knows all about it) that hand picks the candidates, supports them and make sure they get the donations and assistance necessary to win. O’Malley and his wife were born in Atascadero and he truly believes he is the King of Atascadero. If only people and staff were honest enough to speak the truth! Just ask Mike Brennler who fair the Council was to work with when you are an outsider. Kudos to Mike when he was Mayor and challenged O’Malley and the Council about Atascadero developer Kelly Gearhart (yes, the one who pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire fraud, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison) and this Council beat on him so badly. Or ask Jerry Clay, after his years of service, how he was played by Master O’Malley. No one in their right mind would run for Council in this town without O’Malley permission lest you get degraded, humilaited, scorned by the powers to be.


There is something inherintly wrong about government officials controlling their own pay. It would be much better if the voters approved. You only have to look at our own federal government to see how bad this can become.


I understand your feelings, but, is it unreasonable to be paid $600 monthly for the time that it takes to be at council meetings, deal with preparing for the meetings, understanding the issues that the city faces and interacting with the public when out and about in the city on their own free time or on business for their regular employment which is often is more time consuming than anything else. I tend to believe in most cases that government employees are overpaid and underworked, but, $600 per month for the scope of the work that the city council performs is not unreasonable.


It is unreasonable to make that call for yourself……when you get the folks behind you, it is easier to swallow


We are a Representative Democracy. We elect people to make these decisions. If they make too many wrong choices, we elect someone else. If you think that qualified and honest people will flock to organize an election campaign, actively fight to get elected and invest 10-20 hours per week for $300 monthly, you are mistaken. I don’t think the raise solves that problem but, it is fair compensation for the hours spent on city business.


Someone famous once said that our republic will cease once the voters figure out they can vote themselves stuff for free….same goes for our elected officials…wise up


They should no longer be called public servants but self servants.


Really? You actually think $600 a month is too much for what these people put in?