Higher compensation considered for New London officials
By Robert Cloud
The Finance and Personnel Committee voted Oct. 4 to recommend increasing compensation for elected officials in New London.
The Common Council must now decide whether to pass an ordinance that gives council members and the mayor a raise.
According to the resolution the committee approved, the base annual salary for the mayor would increase to $8,400 per year, plus $40 per meeting attended and $60 per meeting for a committee chair.
Currently the mayor is paid a salary of $6,400 per year, plus $30 per meeting and $35 per meeting for a committee chair.
Alderpersons currently receive a salary of $3,000 per year, plus the same per meeting payments as the mayor.
Their annual salaries would increase to $4,000 and they would also receive $40 per meeting attended and $60 per meeting for a committee chair.
The committee voted 6-5 in favor of recommending a pay raise for city officials.
Voting for the resolution were Mayor Mark Herter and alderpersons Charlene Magolski, BaLynda Croy, Dennis Herter, Dave Dorsey and Tim Roberts.
Voting against it were alderpersons Mike Barrington, Bob Besaw, John Hass, Bernie Ritchie and John Faucher.
Prior to the vote, City Administrator Chad Hoerth explained state law regarding pay raises for elected municipal officials.
Approval of any pay raises must occur before nomination papers go out for city council elections.
Because elected officials cannot give themselves a raise, the increased salaries cannot take effect until the following term.
Hoerth said the pay raise must be approved as an ordinance prior to Dec. 1 and take effect in April 2024 for those officials whose term in office expires in 2024.
New London Common Council members serve staggered terms, so half of them would not receive their raises until 2025.
“You run for city council to serve the people,” Ritchie said. “To give ourselves a raise I think is senseless. If you’re here for the money, you don’t belong here.”
Noting the significant increase in shared revenues from the state this year, Roberts said, “This is an opportunity to make it more attractive for people to step up and do their civic duty.”
Roberts noted the city has experienced difficulty in filling council seats and many elections are uncontested.
“We can’t operate this city without council members,” Roberts said.
“I don’t think it’s going to make one iota of difference to get more people to run for office, for alderman or for any of the other offices by raising the pay,” Besaw said. “I think people serve because they want to be part of the community. I don’t think the money is what is drawing people to run.”
Hass said he would prefer increasing the pay per meeting, but not the annual salary.
In addition to higher pay for elected officials, the committee also recommended that citizen members of the Economic Development Committee and Planning Commission, who currently receive no compensation, be paid the same as other committee members.