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The Salt Lake City Council says they need more diversity, so they gave themselves a pay raise

SALT LAKE CITY — Council members admit this will be an unpopular decision.  But listed multiple reasons why giving themselves a pay raise is necessary.

Councilman Chris Wharton says he only sees lawyers and business owners on the council.  Those are the people who aren’t harmed financially to take time off from work to serve.  He believes in order to get teachers, firemen, and those who rely on an hourly wage can’t afford to work on the council for the $26,291 salary currently earned by council members.

And, a long-time opponent of accepting a pay raise, Charlie Luke, cited the pay gap between the Mayor and council members as to why he changed his mind and voted for the nearly $10,000 a year pay raise.

But, this won’t be a one-time raise.  Along with the salary increase, the council voted on a resolution to keep the pay for Salt Lake Council members to 25 percent of the Mayor’s salary.  That 4-1 pay gap was the norm in 1984.  But, over the years, the gap increased to 5-1.

“I’m not doing this for the pay because I want a pay raise or a pay raise for my colleagues.  But, so we can bring the pay into the same alignment it was before.”  Says Luke on his decision to vote yes.

In earlier council meetings, members cited the increased workload they face with a possible Olympics, the upcoming FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament happening in North America, and increased conferences moving into Salt Lake City.

Council members will begin seeing their raise to $35,925 in January.