West Hollywood’s City Council Will Consider Giving Itself a Raise

West Hollywood City Council members on Monday will consider giving themselves a 15% raise.

If approved, an. item on the Council’s agenda would increase the current base compensation of $1,237 a month for the part-job by $185. With the $250 a month stipend for telephone, internet, office, and transportation expenses, the current annual compensation is $17,844. The proposed increase would make it $20,064. However, retirement and health insurance benefits paid by the city can boost the annual compensation to more than $40,000 for some Council members. The cost of the health insurance depends on the health plans a Council member chooses.

A database managed by the State Controller’s office shows total compensation for West Hollywood City Council members in the fiscal year that ended on June 30 ranged from $42,330 to $28,211. The average was $32,019. That works out to 88 cents per resident according to data from the Government Compensation in California database. By comparison, compensation for Beverly Hills City Council members was 93 cents per resident. However, the compensation in Culver City, the only other nearby city with a population close to that of West Hollywood, averaged only 59 cents per resident,

There also are reimbursements for actual expenses incurred in the course of city business. That includes expenses associated with entertainment or travel on the city’s behalf to previously approved events and locations. In addition to meetings of government associations, the City Council has authorized city-funded travel to the Venice Biennale art show in Italy and the South by Southwest music and film festival in Austin, Tex., as well as the various other events associated with Council members’ political interests such as the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, which John Duran attends, and the LGBT Victory Fund, whose events John D’Amico and John Heilman have attended, (The LGBT Victory Fund has endorsed Heilman for re-election.)

The pay increase, if approved, would not take effect until next year. The last time the Council voted to increase its pay was in November 2015. That increase, 50%, was the first since 2007. It took effect after the March 2017 City Council election. Under state law, city councils in cities organized under state law, as is West Hollywood, may give themselves a 5% annual raise. The last time West Hollywood’s City Council voted to give itself a raise was in 2007.

That pay increase was on the City Council’s consent agenda, which contains a list of measures that are all voted on at once and aren’t likely to require discussion or debate. After some residents and Mayor Lindsey Horvath said the increase deserved public discussion, it was removed from the consent agenda.  While the other Council members voted for the raise, Horvath abstained, saying she wasn’t comfortable voting to give herself a raise.

Monday’s City Council meeting can be viewed online by going to www.weho.org/wehotv. There are two ways for people to participate:

Participate by Providing a Public Comment by Telephone


• Email City Clerk Yvonne Quarker at yquarker@weho.org no later than 4 p.m. on Monday to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling, and indicate that you will be speaking on Item 6.
• Dial-in at 5 p.m. to stand in queue (the meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.). Use phone number (669) 900 – 6833. Then enter meeting I.D. number 920 8985 8265, then #
• You will be placed on hold in the virtual meeting room until it is your turn to
speak. You may be on hold for some time, especially given that this item is the last one on the Council agenda.
• You will have two minutes to speak (about 250 words). If there are a large number of speakers, the City Clerk may limit comments to one minute.

To Participate by Emailing a Comment


• Submit a comment using this online form no later than 4 p.m. on Aug. 17. You will be asked the following questions:

  • Name (optional)
  • City of residence (optional)
  • Address and phone number (optional)
  • Indicate that you will be speaking on an Agenda Item
  • Enter agenda item number “6.”
  • Indicate whether you (A) Support or (B) Oppose the recommended item
  • Select “None of the above”
  • You will be prompted to enter your comment. Plan for 250 words.
  • Submit
  • E-Comments received by 4 p.m. will be forwarded to the City Council and posted on the city’s website as part of the official meeting record.
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Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago

While the raise seems nominal, the point has always been that you take this job because it is public service. The timing on this looks bad given that the Council is telling us we need to raise the sales tax or they will cut social services and when so many residents are unemployed and worried about how they will pay the rent. When I left the City Council in 2003 the COBRA for my medical insurance was $1,500 a month; so that means the current medical benefits are worth more than $2,000 a month. This is on top of various… Read more »

John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
2 months ago

I dont think this should be a problem

Manny
Manny
2 months ago

It’s $185 a month people! For a part time job with tremendous policy making responsibilities. In the end it comes out to $30 an hour for the work and the aggravation from us.

Cut them some slack. Payroll has gone up a little since 1989.

Earl Eason
Earl Eason
2 months ago
Reply to  Manny

Exactly! Remember they sacrifice so much of their time to go to Paris, Heidelberg, Milan, Honolulu and the crazy Austin music festival on the city’s dime. They should be compensated for all the time they put into that travel. The first class flights along take hours!

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
2 months ago

It’s too bad all of them aren’t up for re-election in November, because we could vote out this useless group and replace them.

Giving the new council members a raise instead of these political hacks.

carleton cronin
2 months ago

Hey! That’s what I get (less Medicare and eventual taxes) each month from Social Security. Do the Council members keep timesheets? For some that would be no problem.

Steve Too
Steve Too
2 months ago

The optics on this aren’t good. Regardless of how they compare to other municipalities, now is not the time for any optional expenses

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago

Someone needs to tell Lindsey that abstaining is not the same as saying no. Abstaining is a non-answer to a yes or no questions and avoids making a real commitment. Such is the course of an eager politico.

Jason K
Jason K
2 months ago

Are these people so insulated that they don’t see what is going on the world. Why would they vote to give themselves a raise in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
People are loosing their jobs, people can’t pay the rent and the city revenue is going to be in the toilet.

Weho Blonde
Weho Blonde
2 months ago

Is this so they can subscribe to Grindr Extra to fill in the new Receptionist position?

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
2 months ago

I indeed think the City Council deserves a raise, & that would still be low pay, considering their responsibilities & obligations, essentially as volunteers. They’re running our city, a monumental task with lots of challenges & criticism, while still handling their day jobs. It seems to be a thankless job & sometimes I wonder why on earth they want to do it.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
2 months ago

It’s just the wrong time, need to wait a year to get better residents support.

Larry Block
Larry Block
2 months ago

The city council is going to vote on giving itself a raise while local renters and businesses are struggling to survive. The council votes to put a sales tax measure on the ballot to protect social services and other planned expenditures yet they are bringing forward an item that only benefits themselves. Yes council is a lot of work, but it’s also a priviledge to serve the community. You dont serve for money, you serve to represent the rest of us. And and it’s tone deaf to even bring this item forward at this time.. but then again it should… Read more »

Manny
Manny
2 months ago

88 cents per resident?! That’s a steal considering all the emails they get from me.