City commissioners and the mayor gave themselves a pay bump last month alongside an agenda item raising wages for other city employees, reports Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel.
The vote, opposed by commissioners Tony Ortiz and Robert Stuart, gave the six city commissioners a 5 percent raise to $58,000 a year and the mayor a 6.5 percent raise to $186,306.
Stuart said he opposed the measure because he doesn’t think the position should be compensated like a full-time job.
“I just have felt like the best role I play is to be that part-time commissioner, so I’m in the field, I’m in the community, having to make a living,” he said.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said the raises would have normally been a part of the city’s budget negotiations, but the officials were waiting until negotiations ended for the city employees represented by the Laborers International Union of North America and the Service Employees International Union.
Those employees got raises ranging from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent starting in January, which will be followed by a 2.5 percent raise in October and another 2.5 percent raise in October 2018.
Still, government watchdog Doug Head said the raises should have been publicly debated before getting a stamp of approval from commissioners.
“I think the public expects the City Council salaries to be independently considered in an open forum, and that’s a reasonable expectation,” he said.