SLO City Council members award themselves large raises

February 5, 2020

Mayor Heidi Harmon


The San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to grant itself a large pay increase, with council members receiving a 63 percent raise and the mayor getting a 46 percent bump in compensation.

Base pay for council members will now increase from $14,688 annually to $23,880. The mayor’s annual base pay will rise from $20,700 to $30,096.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Heidi Harmon sent a letter to constituents seeking support for the pay raises. The letter compared the stipend Harmon receives as mayor to the salaries of full-time employees.

On Tuesday, about 10 members of the public spoke in support of Harmon and the council receiving a bump in pay. Public commenters argued Harmon is deserving of receiving a living wage for her work as mayor.

One public speaker, Jeffrey Specht, criticized the pay raises, stating they were a misuse of city funds.

Harmon sought a substantial pay raise despite receiving a 15 percent increase in compensation in late 2018. Council members also received 2 percent raises at that time.

Additionally, the San Luis Obispo council opted again to raise its own pay, despite the city recently incurring a multi-million dollar budget shortfall as a result of rising pension costs. Over a 15-year span, the city’s unfunded pension liabilities rose from $0 to more than $150 million.

The new changes to council member compensation will take effect in Jan. 2021 and will come at an annual cost to the city budget of $46,164.

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Oompa loompa?

We all know those from Cal Poly, who’s votes got the majority of the council elected will be back home before the damage of their votes hits. You can see why the council is fighting a change to a council by district. If that were to happen the Cal Poly vote would likely be concentrated to one maybe two council seats and the other seats would be able to serve the true residents of San Luis Obispo.

Congratulations Mayor Harmon, this is the highest paying job you’ve ever had! I can’t remember ever getting a $10,000 a year raise during my 40+ years of working. Just remember, the voters give performance reviews every two years. Anyone who never got a 46% raise will hopefully remember your generous gift to yourself at taxpayers’ expense.


You call yourselves public servants; you’re nothing more than public leeches.

I voted myself a large pay raise just this month, but the bank account would not support the check. It would be really nice if someone would lower the water rates so I could afford to pay myself more.