Pay attention. Be informed. Make a difference. Keep it real.

Apparently, I’ve stirred the natives from its Alpha state and caused collective outrage. Congratulations to all of us. That was my intent. We’re becoming engaged and enraged and are finally thinking about the issues. Whew! I know – it’s painful.

I know there was no way Council would get $96,000 – a (1,500%) pay raise. I also knew that if I didn’t throw-out an outrageous number nobody would pay attention.

Now that you’re listening – let’s thoughtfully reset the problem as a metaphor – we’re driving a used car with a flat tire. If we don’t repair it, we’re going to drive into the ditch. Not a life threatening situation, but troublesome. Past councils have conducted their business like 9 independent city managers – wading too deeply into the minutiae. Now, with the change of governance, we have an opportunity to rethink how and what we do. We can begin acting like our charge – as legislators, arbiters and a forward thinking board of directors working on weighty policy issues. With a change in expectations, we don’t need a salary increase. Without a change in expectations we need a salary increase.

Since I doubt anyone will willingly relinquish his power and since therefore, I doubt we’ll change the way we govern, my proposal is for the Council’s collective salary to be increased to a total of $228,000 per year, which is less than what many of our senior administrative bureaucrats earn individually. This would be broken down as $36,000 for the President of Council (because the President is charged with extra duty) and $24,000 for each Councilor.

If Council was bold enough to act on this proposal and with citizen’s assent by ballot, I’d accept the pay raise. But, to avoid the apparent conflict of interest, (continuing to realize this is a real-time problem and not one to be kicked down the road again), I’d immediately donate my entire city council salary to the following 3 charities:

  1. The Salvation Army – because they take care of the lowest of the low
  2. The Boy Scouts – because they train America’s future leaders
  3. Inside-Out, because they take care of homosexual and lesbian children who otherwise have no franchise.

I’d love to hear what you think. Fire up your thinking cap and let’s get the conversation started.

Pay attention. Be informed. Make a difference. Keep it real.