Pismo Beach City Council votes for a 20% pay increase

July 24, 2022

Pismo Beach City Council


The Pismo Beach City Council voted 3-2 on July 19 to give themselves a 20 percent increase in pay, with Mayor Ed Waage and Councilwoman Sheila Blake dissenting.

Council members Marci Guthrie, Mary Ann Reiss and Scott Newton voted in favor of raising the stipend from $772 to $926 for the four council members and to $1,226 for the mayor. The council has not voted to raise their pay in four years.

The increases will cost the city $9,978 a year.

In typical fashion, the city conducted a study of where Pismo Beach ranks in comparison to other cities in the county. The city was ranked and will continue to be ranked third highest for council compensation, even with the increased stipends.

During public comment, resident Stacy Inman first thanked the council for all they do, before asking that they limit their raises to the same 7.5% given city employees during the past four years.

Councilwoman Guthrie said she was in favor of increasing stipends in order to encourage more members of the community to serve on the council. In particular, she would like to see younger people and non-retirees serve on future councils.

Councilwoman Blake argued that people who sit on other city boards do not get paid for their time.

“I am not going to vote for this, it is just not right,” Blake said.

Salaries are paid to employees on a government’s payroll, while stipends are paid to offset certain expenses for officials who are usually not on the payroll.

The council voted 3-2 to approve the first reading of the ordinance increasing council stipends 20%. Prior to adoption, the ordinance requires a second reading and vote of the council, scheduled for Aug. 2.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

So what? Pismo Beach has a $76 million annual budget. They can’t pay for proper government? Even with health insurance it can’t be more than $15k a year, total.

If the total for “proper government” in Pismo was 15,000 of a $76 million dollar budget I don’t think anyone would have a problem with that, but in actuality the total compensation part of most government entities budgets typically run around 60 to 70%, some higher, so Pismo is likely paying around $53 million (now plus 15k more), for “proper government, that would be the issue. Most wonder if we couldn’t get “proper government” for a lot less, leaving more for infrastructure, physical improvements, reducing taxes and fees and such.

Kudos to Councilwoman Blake and Mayor Waage! The Council and Mayor also receive generous medical benefits. The phoney argument that people won’t serve unless they are generously compensated is false. True community service comes from (SHOULD come from) a desire to make your community a better place. The direct expenses for travel, supplies and materials necessary to the duties should be reimbursed. A stipend is also reasonable. 20% strains credulity! The three who voted for the raise seem greedy and self serving rather than representatives of the community that has been so good to them. Using the argument that they are only trying to help others who might serve, but need more money to do so, falls very short of believability unless they all announce their retirement from the council prior to the raise going into effect.

The vicious cycle continues, Arroyo Grande raises its compensation, San Luis Obispo raises salaries, other cities use them saying see our people are paid less so we must raise ours. What ever happened to merit based raises and what the entity can afford regardless of what the entity next door is paying. If an individual feels they deserve more money go work at tha place that pays more, the one you are at has the salary it feels is what they can afford or do a better job where you are and then ask, stating why your work performance merits a raise, saying just because Joe working at a nearby entity is making more should not be a reason, if presented just that reason most bosses would likely say, go work there.

Those council/mayor compensation/stipends comparisons do NOT include health and other benefits which are HUGE!