Elk Grove to Consider Making Mayor, Council Members Full-Time Positions


July 14, 2016 |

Mayoral candidate stakes out positions 

At last night's Elk Grove City Council meeting, Mayor Gary Davis floated the idea of making the Mayor's position a full-time job. Davis made his comments during the council's comment portion of future agenda items.

Davis, who has been the city's directly elected mayor since December 2012, reflected on the demands of the job that he will have held for a total five years (four as directly elected, one on the former rotational basis) when he leaves office later this year.

"It is something that is a full-time job with less than minimum wage part-time pay, and that's OK," Davis said. "But I can tell you doing the job right, doing it well, having a full-time job, is a challenge."

Davis emphasized if the position became full-time, it would not be effective until after he left office. The Mayor went on to suggest a ballot initiative be crafted for placement on the November ballot.

"We're a city of 167,000 people, we're growing, our needs are tremendous, and when people show up at city hall they deserve to have a mayor there," he said. "I am not proposing a strong mayor or any change to the structure of government here, just allowing a salary that's enough for the mayor to be full-time."

As a basis of analyzing compensation for a full-time Mayor, Davis said it could be compared to salaries for a school principal or a police lieutenant.

Councilman Steve Detrick agreed with Davis but added that he would like to explore the idea of making city council members also receive full-time pay. Detrick said that both the mayor's and council member positions have full-time demands with council members having about 90-percent of the mayors workload.  

"We ought to consider what it is like to go full-time possibility for all the council members, similar to what is done in Sacramento," Detrick said.

City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs advised the council that if they want to put it on the ballot for November "the time frame is going to get very tight,"

"It's possible, but it can be done," Hobbs said. 

Hobbs went on to say that the matter could be placed on the November ballot, or the city council could make the change by ordinance.

"If we are going to get it on the ballot for this November, based on the timelines, basically it means that staff is going to have to bring you back a ballot measure by the next meeting," Hobbs said. "And we can do that."

Davis said there needs to be "done with enough public discussion, and if the council decides to put the measure on the ballot, they could call a special meeting to accommodate that. 

"There are ways to make the timeline work," he added.

Council member Darren Suen said he has mixed feeling about the proposition. He noted all the council members understood the responsibilities and the pay when they assumed office.  

"I'm open to the conversation, but I am very cautious about it," Suen said. 

Vice Mayor Steve Ly, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the mayor's position said like Suen, he is cautious but understands the additional responsibilities the position entails.  

"I am aware there are things you do that are a little more that I as a city council member does [sic]," Ly said. "I'd be open to discuss it." 

Should Ly enter the race, the topic of changing the status of the positions could become an issue of interest to voters. One of the two candidates already in the race has staked out a position for Davis' and Detrick's proposal.

Affirming Davis' assertion is Joel Broussard, who said citizens deserve to have a full-time mayor and council members. 

The citizens deserve a full-time Mayor, a Mayor that's able to serve them properly, a mayor that's accessible daily, someone who can do the duties of a Mayor while still financially providing for his[or]her families," Broussard said. "Whether the city approves it or not, we will see to it that the position is treated to the best of our ability as a full-time responsibility, just as current Mayor Davis has done."  

The other candidate in the race, Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Kevin Spease said there are strong argument on both sides of the issue, but said that any current council member should be exempted from the change in status.   

“There are strong arguments for and against, and I believe that true service is more than a nine to five job," Spease said. "Any changes that include tax-payer funded salary should be not apply to any officials elected prior to passage by voters."

Hobbs said the city council will be offered a report with several options at their July 27 meeting.











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