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Panel OKs Pay Raise for Future Councilmembers

By Eric Licas
The Review

City Councilmembers approved a more-than-triple raise for future Councilmembers at the Jan. 17 meeting. This is the first time members of the local legislative body have seen a pay increase in nearly 40 years.
The 217% rise in compensation won’t take effect until after the next batch of elected Councilmembers take the dais in 2024. It will increase the stipend they receive each month from $300 to $950.
The change has been spurred in response to state Senate Bill 329, a measure approved last June that allows for increases to the maximum salary of City Councilmembers depending on the population of the municipalities they serve.
Councilmembers were mostly supportive of the pay increase, with Councilman Michael Cacciotti highlighting that they currently receive far less than minimum wage. The measure passed 3-1, with Councilman Jon Primuth casting the sole vote against it.
Primuth, who served as mayor in 2023, said he was not specifically opposed to giving future Councilmembers a raise. However, he pointed out that the city was still in the process of working out this year’s budget, and he was hesitant to make spending decisions before that is resolved.
“I realize this is a small amount of money, but the principle of it is, it’s the cart before the horse,” Primuth said. “Let’s work out what our strategic funding priorities are. I’m sympathetic to it, but we have plenty of time.”
City staff pointed out that SB 329 only applies to salaries, and does not include guidance regarding other benefits.
Mayor Pro Tem Jack Donovan raised the possibility of adding health insurance to Councilmembers’ compensation package, and his colleagues were open to discussing that possibility at a future session.

First published in the January 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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