San Luis Obispo City Council seeks a 63 percent pay raise

February 4, 2020


Despite the city’s distressing financial situation, on Tuesday the San Luis Obispo City Council will consider granting members a 63 percent pay raise and the mayor a 46 percent increase in compensation, according to the agenda.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, members will consider raising their compensation from $1,224 to $1,990 and the mayor’s pay from $1,725 to $2,508. In late 2018, the council voted to award Mayor Heidi Harmon a 15 percent increase in pay, while the rest of the council received 2 percent raises.

City council stipends were originally provided to cover the cost of attending meetings, but have since grown to include substantial benefit packages and monthly income.

In a letter to constituents seeking support for the pay raises, Mayor Heidi Harmon compares her stipend to full-time employee salaries.

“Recommending a monthly increase for Mayor from $1,725 to $2,508, which equates to $30,996 annually from $20,700,” Harmon writes. “This is 63 percent of the median income, based on $48,000.”

Mayors throughout the county have generally held full-time jobs or have been in retirement while serving as mayor. For example, Arroyo Grande Mayor Caren Ray-Russom is a teacher at Santa Maria High School and Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee works in the San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department.

The SLO City Council is considering the raises despite the city recently incurring a multi-million dollar budget shortfall due to rising pension costs. Over the past 15 years, the city’s unfunded pension liabilities have gone from $0 to more than $150 million.

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Let’s see as mayor and city council do absolutely nothing to reduce costs, costs to live in the city, costs to build housing and commercial space, costs for basic utilities, costs to drive in the city or costs to basically exist. Then claim you need a raise to afford to live in what you have created. Any bets on when the next increase in fees, taxes or such will be announced?, and what will be increased, water and sewer rates, permit costs, climate change surcharge, electric retrofit charge, gasoline usage charge, or what?


Sure give them the 63% raise , they’ve worked 63% percent harder to completely fuck over the city of SLO.

I must withdraw my earlier comments about SLO city officials not having the cajones to do much of anything.

It is now obvious that they have a very, very big pair of cajones – to vote themselves a huge salary increase; while the city itself is in financial difficulties and most of the citizens are having a hard time just getting from paycheck to paycheck! Yep, theirs would make a basketball look to be about the size of a BB.

These people are doing better or worse than the SLO administrators who make $200k. Let’ boost all their salaries in to that range. At least the city council members don’t leave their loaded guns in public bathrooms.

Anybody else find it odd the mayor is lobbying her supporters to lobby her to vote for increasing her compensation? One of these supporters wrote she should get $90K a year. So she can pocket a mere $30K and look like she’s saving the city money. Cool setup.

SLO will never attract anyone as great as Heidi if they don’t pony up.

We all know what it takes to attract the best and brightest.

I’m stunned that 39 people took my comments seriously.

Should have added : /

Just keep bleeding the citizens until there is not much more to take, then take more…

Bleeding tourists is easier, and less controversial.

“Despite the city’s distressing financial situation . . . ” C’mon — is that supposed to be unbiased reporting? Hardly.