SLO gives Mayor Heidi Harmon a raise

May 3, 2018

Mayor Heidi Harmon, council members Dan Rivoire, Carlyn Christianson, Aaron Gomez and Andy Pease.

Rather than approving across-the-board 10 percent raises, as proposed by a special committee, the San Luis Obispo City Council decided Tuesday to increase the mayor’s base pay by 15 percent while raising council member salaries by 2 percent.

The council voted 4-1 for the pay raises. Mayor Heidi Harmon, who stood to benefit the most financially from the move, did not case the dissenting vote. Rather, Harmon voted in favor of her pay raise, and Councilman Dan Rivoire was the lone dissenter.

“Ultimately it’s not for ourselves, right?” Harmon said. “Just like everything else we do, is it the right thing to do or not, regardless?”

Harmon said, even following the raises, the mayoral and council positions will not be compensated with livable wages.

“These are positions that demand a lot and they deserve to be recognized in that way I think,” Harmon said.

Mayor Heidi Harmon

When the raises take effect next year, the mayor’s salary will rise to slightly more than $20,000. That does not include benefits, which can amount to more than $10,000 in additional compensation.

The mayor and council members positions are part-time positions, though some of the officeholders often bemoan the amount of time they choose to spend on city related matters. On Tuesday, Councilman Aaron Gomez described the mayor’s job as a “beyond full-time gig.” Gomez also said it is politically untenable to give yourself a raise, but then voted for increasing council member compensation.

Other council members said it is necessary to raise their own pay so there can be a greater diversity of candidates seeking office in SLO. Multiple council members said they would be “kicking the can down the road” by not approving the raises.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, a council compensation committee recommended raising the base pay of all council members, including the mayor, by 10 percent. The committee also recommended slight increases to the stipends that planning and architectural review commissioners receive.

During the meeting, Councilwoman Andy Pease suggested a 15 percent increase for the mayor and 2 percent increases for council members. The council voted for Pease’s motion, which also included $10 stipend increases for members of the architectural review commission and planning commission, as the compensation committee had suggested.







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15 Comments

  1. Mariposa says:

    In Webster’s Revised Unabridged 1913 dictionary, GREED is defined: “excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves.”

    Collins English Dictionary defines GREED: “The desire to have more of something, such as food or money, than is necessary or fair.”

    So whether you call it greed, selfishness, indulgence, or insatiability makes no difference. Mayor Heidi Harmon wants more and has found a clear, unobstructed path to GET more.

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
  2. George Bailey says:

    Can she switch to real flowers now, or are the fake flowers a progressive thing?

    (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
  3. Jorge Estrada says:

    I’ve got it, I’ve got it, a great idea to solve the funding short falls: Understanding that we already have Federal and State income taxes, why not implement a earned income County tax. This mean that only the working pay a County income tax. This money can be proportioned to the Cities, CSD’s and Special Districts. The State would applaud our county for being a good example for a Self-Help county. Everybody (in local Gov) will then get a pay raise and shortly afterwards the State will withhold revenues, previously distributed, to the Counties that have done good at providing Self-Help revenues. Although THIS IS A RIDUCLOUS IDEA, the intent is to exemplify the ratcheting cost of governance. This would not be the first time this fleecing methodology has occurred, remember spending more is how Gov justifies taxing more. If you haven’t already noticed our new County logo, displayed on every County vehicle, it represents the shape of our county almost like a sub-state. Has a process to be identified as some kind of territory started with this new map like logo?

    (11) 11 Total Votes - 11 up - 0 down
  4. CCWine says:

    Like I said before-

    Are most people happy with the way SLO is being run?
    Are these economic boom times?
    Are the wages for everyone else also rising?
    Are we having trouble attracting talented leaders away from private sector work?
    Have these people complained about affording their lifestyle or being able to do their jobs?

    If you answered NO to all of these….then why should we raise their compensation?

    (18) 18 Total Votes - 18 up - 0 down

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