28 December 2000

City Commission Looking At Higher Pay


By Jon A. Brake

At last weeks City Commission meeting Commissioner Ed Klimek advanced the idea that City Commissioners
should be paid more than the $100 per month they receive now.

Klimek said that good people may not run for office unless they can be paid for their time and expense. That
sounds right but, It is not right.

For more than 100 years City Commissioners were not paid. Being Mayor or a City Commissioner was a Service
to the community. It should remain a Service not a paid position.

If the Commission pass a Charter Ordinance changing the pay in any way the Manhattan Free Press will provide
the petition to stop such action.

Here is part of the Memo given to the Commission on the subject of Commission pay:

3) Survey of City Commissionersí pay at other Kansas cities.

A survey of Kansas cities showing City Commissionerís pay is attached.

Upon closer investigation, it was found that the Commissionís salaries are set by Charter Ordinance No. 24 from
January of 1986 (See attached). Changing a charter ordinance requires two readings, a super-majority vote and a
60-day protest period after the ordinance is published in the official newspaper.

Should the Commission wish to implement a new salary, there are several alternatives under which that could be
accomplished: a new charter ordinance with a new salary could be passed; a new charter ordinance could be
passed listing a maximum salary with the salary set by regular ordinance on an annual basis; or a new charter
ordinance could be passed which states that all future salaries will be set by regular ordinance. In addition, the
Commission may wish to differentiate between the Mayorís pay and that of other City Commissioners. This is a
practice that several communities have implemented. Also, the existing ordinance could be changed to
specifically allow for vehicle reimbursement.