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Are Council Members Willing to Give Up Their Salaries? Here Are Their Responses
By Jorge Casuso
May 12, 2020 -- As the City sent 30-day layoff notices to 156 Santa Monica employees Monday, the Lookout asked Council members if they would be willing to give up their salaries during the fiscal crisis spurred by the coronavirus shutdown.
The latest figures obtained by the Lookout show that Council members received an annual salary of $15,696, while the mayor made $18,282 (The numbers have since increased by about $2,000.)
All seven Council members also received $29,012 a year in benefits and a budgeted car allowance of $4,416.
At last Tuesday's Council meeting, after voting to lay off as many as 247 full-time employees, Councilmember Sue Himmelrich offered to give up her Council salary ("City Council Slashes Up to 247 Full-time Jobs; Cuts Will Be Felt at All Levels," May 6, 2020).
"I'm willing to contribute to these efforts to help backfill these programs," she said as the Council debated what to do with a $2 million fund to restore priority programs.
Last week, the Lookout asked the other six Council members the following question:
"Last Tuesday, Sue Himmelrich volunteered to give up her salary as a Council member to help the City during its unprecedented fiscal crisis.
"Given the sacrifices the Council is asking staff to make and considering that yours is a voluntary, but paid, position that is not the source of your primary income, are you willing to do the same?"
The Lookout received answers from all the Council members asked except Mayor Pro Tem Terry O'Day.
Of the five Council members who responded, three said they were willing to give up part or all of their pay.
Here are their answers:
Mayor Kevin McKeown:
Not all Councilmembers enjoy the same financial security. I’m a retired renter, for whom Council pay is my only remaining earned income.Gleam Davis
I offered to forego all my council compensation back in March when the crisis first arose and I remain willing to do so.
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