Arroyo Grande City Council delays their own raises for two years

December 2, 2019


Amid negative feedback from the community, at the second reading of an ordinance to increase the mayor’s pay by 97 percent and the remaining council members pay by 60 percent, last week the council voted 4-1 to delay their pay raises until 2022. Councilman Jimmy Paulding dissented.

During the first discussion of the ordinance, on Nov. 12, Councilwoman Lan George sought to delay the raises, but lost after Mayor Caren Ray-Russom, Councilman Keith Storton and Councilwoman Kristen Barneich argued that the raises needed to go into effect in 2020.

However, last week Storton reversed his earlier decision, and made a motion to make the raises effective in 2022.

Storton, whose term ends in 2022, said he had received a lot of feedback from the community since the council’s Nov. 12 vote, and that he wasn’t interested in the raise for himself, but thinks it is important for future councils.

City residents Coleen Kubel and Patricia Price asserted that with infrastructure shortfalls and the rising costs associated with the Five Cities Fire Authority, the increases were “bad timing.”

Ray-Russom argued against the two-year delay, and if passed, she wanted an additional 5 percent raise.

Storton disagreed with raising the compensation any further, as did the majority of the council, including Lan George and Jimmy Paulding.

The council then voted to increase the council compensation from $405 to $648 per month, with the mayor receiving $748 per month beginning in Dec. 2022.

In the last year, the city paid nearly $90,000 to council members in compensation and benefits.



As usual, Caren Ray-Rossum utterly fails to lead.

The poor leadership displayed by the whacky liberals on the AG city council is on full display, and I quote the story: “Ray-Russom argued against the two-year delay, and if passed, she wanted an additional 5 percent raise.” Amazing!

After utilizing dirty politics to defeat incumbent Jim Hill, Ray-Rossum has showed her true colors in attempting to garner a pay raise for herself, and it shows she is just trying to double-dip off of the taxpayers in this latest effort.

Ray-Rossum in unfit to lead, and she ought to be recalled.


At the coffee shop this morning it was enlightening to hear that Ray Russom is not winning.

Some expressed buyers remorse for having voted for her. Others had not one good thing to say about her. There wasn’t one single fan in the group.

And Paulding isn’t fooling anyone either with all of his wimp out votes—everyone knows he’s only keeping his seat warm until he runs for supervisor again.


Say nice things to get elected. Once elected all is forgotten.


In SLO county up to mid 70s when SLO county was a poorer area .A home or 2 could be bought for 1/5 of what a Santa Barbara home cost at the time ….It appears as the county has blossomed the vultures and agenda driven folks have gotten themselves voted into office ..Now money is the driver in their quest …Morals seem to not exist Karma takes awhile .But what goes around comes around eventually


Math is hard.

At the November 26th meeting Ray Russom actually tried to add 5% (for 2021) on top of the new number $648 and another 5% (for 2022) to catch the councils pay up to 2022 (the way she was calculating -by compounding- the total would be $714.42 per month). State law (Government Code Sections 36516 – 36516.5) sets forth the methods for establishing council member and mayor salaries by ordinance in general law cities, calculations may not be compounded when calculating the increase.

Math is really hard.

Bergman tried to do the calculation, but he was also wrong, he tried to add the additional 5%, using the new number $648 as the starting point, which would have taken the raise to $678.70. But he thought there could only be one 5% increase before the next election cycle (2022) — he was wrong on both counts.

If the council had agreed to raise the pay to 2022’s implementation at 5% per year, it would start at the current pay $405 and increase 5% per year since 2008 or (14 years) 70% = $688.50.

The whole thing is greedy and bad timing. The city has to pass a sales tax for its basic services to continue at a mediocre level. It has to pass a bond to build the new Brisco. It has to pass a 218 to raise water and sewer rates and pass its drainage tax. It has no business wasting staff time on calculating a self-serving raise, even if it is for the future council. People who run for office don’t do it for the perks. They do it because they love their community and want to help.

Put the “Serve” back in service!


Once again, CAREN RAY exhibits zero interest in the desires of the very people who elected her. She is a carbon copy of Tony Ferrera, from the sneer to the derision. If she is mayor for another term, then AG deserves her, period.


Time for a new mayor


Way past time for engaged, educated and concerned voters.