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Amid redevelopment cuts, council ponders increasing their pay

Move would be reaction to loss of income resulting from a drop in the city's population.

August 30, 2011|By Brittany Levine brittany.levine@latimes.com

Faced with a mandated 40% pay cut to get in line with a state cap on compensation for serving on the local redevelopment agency, City Council members on Tuesday said they wanted to partially offset their income loss.

The pay cut was triggered after Glendale’s population dropped below 200,000, according to figures from the state Department of Finance. Under state law, that drop limits redevelopment compensation for council members to $120 a month. Council members have each been paid $1,400 a month for their work on the agency since 2002 because at the time, the city was above the population threshold.

But according to the latest state and federal figures, Glendale’s population is approximately 192,000.

The move puts Glendale at the forefront of population impacts on pay for elected officials, said John Shirey, executive director of the California Redevelopment Assn.

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“This is the first I’ve heard of any city or agency having the experience where they fall under the magic line,” he said.

To compensate for the reduction in redevelopment compensation, the City Council is considering increasing the regular pay drawn by members from $1,100 per month to $1,320 per month. The 20% raise is within state laws that allow for 5% increases every year since the last salary increase. Glendale’s last pay raise for council members was in April 2007.

“We are the third largest city in L.A. County,” said Councilman Dave Weaver, describing the raise as a way to recoup some of the forced pay cut. “None of us are going to get rich off this council salary.”

The pay adjustments would mean that the overall council salary would drop from $41,100 per year — including pension, car allowances and agency stipends — to $28,380. But the city would also cover all of the council’s medical benefits, which comes to an extra city outlay of about $250 or $350 per month per member, depending on healthcare dependents.

The redevelopment deductions would take effect as soon as the council votes, but the raise wouldn’t come into play until April 2013, the next new term. Currently, City Council members get paid even if they don’t attend a redevelopment meeting. That won’t be the case, once the new ordinance is passed, City Atty. Mike Garcia said.

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