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COUNCILMAN CLARIFIES MAYORAL RAISE

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To the editor:

Gordon Bullock's letter (Forum, July 12) defending the pay raise for Mayor Joe Jenkins deserves a response from someone not as close to the mayor as Bullock, but close enough to give another point of view.Bullock wrote about the meetings where the mayor's salary was discussed openly and overwhelmingly passed except for one dissenting vote. Never during the regular Provo City Council meetings where the salary issue was discussed was mention made of the actual amount of money Jenkins would be making.

The discussions centered on two ordinances: One specified salary for the mayor in dollars, the other ordinance allowed the mayor to get a salary increase without council approval by classifying the job of mayor with other city workers but at job class 35. Any legal mind will tell you that the more precise one can be, the less likelihood of being misunderstood. Six council members voted to support the non-specific job class 35 ordinance, and one voted to keep the ordinance that spelled out exactly what the mayor's salary would be.

I have served 4 1/2 years on the Provo City Council while Jenkins has been in office and disagree with Bullock that the mayor's salary is justified by only one decision at any one meeting. Provo is still around and still has problems not the least of which is the infrastructure.

Bullock also discounted the comparisons of Jenkins' salary with other mayors as "immaterial." I feel it is an important comparison, especially when the new salary places Jenkins at the top of the list by a tidy sum.

I have talked to many citizens who have serious concerns about the sizable raise given the mayor. Maybe some of the Provo citizens in Bullock's area need to let him know there are people who don't like the action taken by the council in behalf of the mayor.

The raise for the mayor isn't just an overnight whim. In 1988 while Ron Last was council chairman, this raise was on the upcoming legislation docket. During a conversation with Last, I questioned it being there at that time. Then for some reason, it got put aside.

My question is, why wasn't it discussed at that time, and why was it tabled until just after the elections? This raise happened in the middle of April, not the first of June, as many have been led to believe.

V. Ben Porter

Provo City councilman