At first blush, a 15.57 percent pay raise seems excessive, especially when the proposed recipient is an elected official. But Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini ought to receive the raise recommended for her this week for a variety of reasons.
The city has allowed its salaries to fall behind those in comparable cities. For years, neither the mayor nor the members of the City Council received raises. The subject simply was too politically indelicate to bring up. Finally, the city appointed a panel of citizens to study the issue and make recommendations. Its conclusions help to remove messy political overtones.Two years ago, the panel recommended raising Corradini's salary from $50,000 to $66,163, and the City Council went along. This year, the committee decided to compare Corradini only to other cities with a council-mayor form of government, thus eliminating the less powerful figurehead mayors in cities with council-manager governments. As a result, they have recommended raising the mayor's pay to $79,529 and the part-time council members' pay to $15,906 (a 14.2 percent increase).
That would put Corradini roughly somewhere between the mayors of Boise, Idaho, and Lansing, Mich.
The recommendation for Corradini still is 5 percent below the median salary in the cities that were studied. That is to compensate for a generous benefits package.
Salt Lake City's mayor deserves a salary commensurate with the job. The process for determining raises is fair and devoid of political pressures and the resulting recommendations deserve to be enacted.