It now appears that a five-member residential committee will determine whether elected officials in Lehi will receive a pay raise.
In August, members of the City Council raised a few eyebrows by proposing to nearly double their salaries, as well as the mayoral salary (from $200 per month with a $100 expense account to $500 monthly for council members, and from $250 per month with a $150 expense account to $800 monthly for the mayor).After a heated public hearing - in which several community members compared council members to members of Congress who voted to give themselves a pay hike - the council postponed taking action on the proposal. The council did approve a cost-of-living pay increases for several appointed city officials, including the chief of police and city recorder.
During the council's Tuesday meeting, the issue of a pay raise again arose - with Mayor Guy Cash this time concluding that the council follow a suggestion from one of its own, Councilman Johnny Barnes, who said the council should leave the decision up to residents.
Councilman John Hadfield, though, entertained a motion that the council should rescind the pay hike proposal, saying that the council "shouldn't even entertain the notion of a pay raise.
"I'm not about ready to vote in favor of raising our own salaries," Hadfield said. "Maybe we should just forgo the proposal altogether."
However, the council voted down that suggestion 3-2, with Barnes saying that residents should have a say in any action the council takes.
"It would be kind of a slap in the face to the residents to rescind the proposal now - as if to say we don't have any confidence in their opinions," Barnes said.
Barnes said residents could come back "violently opposed to any pay increase - in fact, they may even suggest that the city cut the council's pay."
Barnes also said that rescinding the order would also appear that the council "would be doing this just because we took some heat over the original proposal."
With Hadfield abstaining, the council named Clyde Jay Bair, Frank Huggard, Julian Mercer, Reed Sunderland and George Tripp to the residential committee, and charged them with investigating elected officials' compensations. Tripp, a one-time mayor, has been named the temporary chairman of the committee, which has between two weeks and a month to come back to the council with a recommendation.