Letter to the editor
City Council gives itself a raise
We taxpayers received a December surprise from outgoing term-limited Mayor Tim Knapp and term-limited Councilor Charlotte Lehan. Just before Knapp left from office, those two pulled off a deft one with their new resolution for salaries for only the three ladies elected in last November and taking office in January. The mayor's salary used to be $750 per month, but starting July 1, 2021, Mayor Fitzgerald's salary will be $2250 per month (a 200% increase). Other councilors used to receive no salary. Now, the president of the council Kristin Akervall will receive $1,150 per month, and Councilor Linville will receive $850 per month.
When this was voted upon by eligible members, Councilor Ben West voted "no" due to poor timing, citing restrictions due to the pandemic, high unemployment, and failing small businesses. However, both Lehan and Knapp voted yes and so the resolution increasing and establishing salaries passed with potential annual increases based on cost of living adjustments.
They also pulled off a neat trick and passed their pay increases with only two votes. A majority of the City Council did not vote for the pay hikes. Instead, two councilors (who will benefit) left the meeting to reduce the quorum level, so only two votes were needed for passage (Editor's Note: Akervall and Councilor Joann Linville did not vote on the measure because they would directly benefit from its passage whereas Knapp, Lehan and West voted because Knapp and Lehan could not directly benefit and West wouldn't benefit unless and until he's reelected).
The US and Oregon have laws designed to prevent elected officials from receiving pay hikes they give themselves until after they face the voters again. Our political machine in Wilsonville is skirting that ethical standard with trickery. The pay hike only applies to members elected in November but the council voted on it after the election. Voters were not given a chance to factor pay hikes into their choices.
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