Day vetoes measure on council, mayor raises

Mayor Jake Day has vetoed the ordinance passed the Salisbury City Council, to double his salary and increase compensation for the Salisbury City Council.

The pay raise – from $25,000 to $50,000 annually — had been discussed and debated by City Council members for several weeks, and Day has consistently disagreed with a pay hike.

It wouldn’t take effect until the next mayor and City Council are in office, but Day told the Salisbury Independent he plans to run for re-election and hopes to be mayor for many years to come, so it could indeed affect him.

The City Council has the option to override the veto.

City Council President Jack Heath said this week he would vote to override, but that a four-fifths majority would be necessary.

The ordinance passed by a four-fifths vote, with only Councilman Jim Ireton opposed. He refused to an increase higher than $37,500.

Heath said the matter will be discussed at an upcoming work session and voted on at a future City Council meeting.

If the veto is not overridden and the mayor’s salary remains at $25,000 annually, it isn’t clear whether the City Council members will receive pay raises, Heath said.

The ordinance sets salaries for the City Council President at $15,000 per year, and $12,000 per year for council members. Currently, Heath’s position is paid $12,000 and City Council members receive $10,000.

“I understand the mayor’s position. I respect his position but the raise is for the future, not just Jake,” Heath observed.

“My position is relative to the fact that the mayor’s pay should be commensurate with the mayor’s responsibility. That hasn’t changed. By leaving it at $25,000, it limits the pool of potential people for the position.

“You have to look at the position, not just the person,” Heath said.

During past meetings, Heath has opposed $50,000, calling it too low.

“I liken it to the business world. I was asked by one of the councilmen what the salary would be for a CEO with a $58 million company (the city’s annual budget). It would be between $65,000 and $80,000 depending on the company,” he said.


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