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September 16, 2019 | 3:10am
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Approved increase in mayor’s pay fails to become a reality

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At the last regular council meeting, it was approved by a vote of 4 to 3 to increase by 49% the salary paid to whoever is in the position of Mayor of Ferndale beginning January 1, 2020. But since the agenda had the item as a discussion, there was no ordinance prepared to actually vote on. So it was decided to bring the ordinance to council to be approved at a later date.

At this Wednesday’s formerly canceled and then rescheduled Finance & Administration Committee meeting, they spent all of 2 minutes dealing with the issue.

Councilmember Rebecca Xczar had been the primary proponent of bringing the topic of increasing the mayor’s salary to the council. She attended the committee meeting, sitting in for Councilmember and committee member Kate Hansen. Xczar noted how, with the recent retirement of Councilmember Fred Kennedy, they no longer had the votes needed to get the ordinance approved.

I will just apologize for not being prepared at the council meeting when we voted. Since we are now at a point where we are at a tied vote, there is no reason to continue in my opinion. I would like to potentially table it until later in the year. It would be nice to, since we can do it any time, do it before budget season if we are considering doing it for next year so we know it can be in the budget for the year. If that is okay with everybody we can remove it from the agenda for now and realize that it did not actually pass, which is sad because it was in the paper.

The other 2 committee members, Councilmembers Greg Hansen and Keith Olson, were both in agreement with Xczar’s recommendation.

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A BIG thank you to Leela Christin Nelson Hollcroft for helping clean up at the Resource Center today! Thanks also for all the support and ideas. We will keep working on this issue and appreciate those of you who offered solutions and also to help. We have a great community! I hope that whoever left the stuff knows that we appreciate the thought of a donation, but also understands why it wasn’t appropriate. We ❤️ Ferndale! ... See MoreSee Less

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Thanks Leela!

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Olson elaborated on what Xczar had said.

To expand on that, why what she means it is a tie is, Fred was one of the yeses so now it is 3 yes and 3 no. And the mayor cannot vote as a tie-breaker on anything that costs money so in effect he would have lost. So we are just pulling it and, like you say, we can bring it up next week [referring to the City Council retreat on Monday] if we want.

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  1. Probably wouldn’t change Ferndale much, if we just got rid of the Mayor position altogether, plus a few other inconsequential council members.

  2. This one is a hard issue – see too much of a pay increase hurts the city without tangibly improving the work an elected official will do.

    However – the mind set that the job is a “community service” and shouldn’t pay very much because it should be semi-volunteer is quite dangerous. Because your average joe can’t AFFORD to work a part time job for free. The only people that would be able to afford the time way from their day jobs to be an elected official are those who are well off. This does not always mean the best person for the job for our city. Mayors are similar to teachers and police men. You want qualified individuals that do the job well – you have to pay them a wage that makes their experience and work worth it. If you pay poor you attract poor candidates. If you want to get money out of politics you need to make it affordable for those who aren’t wealthy to work the job.

    So it might be worth considering actually encouraging city council to look at the wages of our elected officals and see if they are at least competitive wages enough to make it worth the time lost from their “day jobs” so that we attract and retain good folks.

    Also teachers need paid more. They always need paid more.

    • Ok Karen, I would back that if I didn’t know the council has to track his spending habits on the City credit card. Buying dinner for his family of 9 at Chihuahua’s? Within the first quarter he was there he spent his budget. Along with a lot of other fivithous things. When he’s not there. Do not compare him to police officers. Again, paying him almost a full time first year employees is ridiculous and if the council wants to give out money then maybe consider giving it to the actual hard working full time employees. Lastly, nothing to do with teachers.

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