Citizens of Hanford, if you have not heard, we have a new City Manager; and as Mike Olmos, he or she is from Visalia. Although, I do not know who this new City Manager is at this time, I do want to thank Mr. Olmos for a fine job of keeping our City on track.
Now, for the purpose of writing this letter; it is to bring to your attention, the need to compensate our City Council members whom work hard for our City by paying them a “fair” stipend, salary, re-numeration or whatever you may want to call it. I propose paying them at least $1,400 each monthly, plus health benefits. Presently, they are receiving $400/month. This is totally unacceptable. I firmly believe, if we pay our County of Supervisors over $60,000 a year, and provide staff and an office for them to put their best time in improving our County; then, by all means why not provide a small salary at least approximately 1/50th of our County’s Board of Supervisor’s salary to our City Council members? In doing so you will provide the following
1) Providing our City Council representatives paid time to immerse themselves into the many tasks at hand such much needed parks, jobs, housing and public safety. All this takes time and diligent research to put into each task. You may not know it, but over the last 2 years, the City has been hit by millions of dollars in lawsuits in the dealing involving the Costco development areas. There are others similar. We need to take care of this problem. The City Manager and staff, need the direction from our City Council and this takes time away from their regular work. In other local larger cities, the City Council position is a full time job, for instance the City of Fresno pay their City Council members $6,000 a month!What I am proposing is $1,400 a month. Which is why, they (Fresno) are prospering so much.
2) It will hold them more accountable for their pay. If you are getting paid for a job, you know that those that hire you demand good results. Enough of the silly notion that, if you, if an elected official is doing it all of the goodness of your heart. If that were the case, we shouldn’t be paying our county elected officials and other elected officials throughout the State. Pay them their worth.
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3) Paying our City Council individuals will compensate for their much needed time to effectively digest each project, and to attend the many meetings they are asked to do to negotiate a better outcome for our city.
4) Parity. Sure it is easy for a “high income” person to be a City Council person, and not ask for compensation, since they are wealthy to begin with. What about low income community leaders or “fixed income seniors” whom do not have the financial resources to “kindly donate their time without pay?”
5) Let’s get real folks, there are strong civic minded leaders, whom just do not have the finances for whatever reason to “”volunteer” their time to City Council time as the wealthy ones. This is ridiculous and plain not fair!Level the playing field for everyone whose purpose is for the good for our City.
Alfred Benavides, MPA