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Rochester commission to revisit timing for council pay raises

Proposed charter change would delay future increase until after an election is held.

Rochester city logo

A proposal to slow future Rochester City Council pay raises will be revisited Tuesday.

The Rochester Charter Commission is slated to discuss a recommendation to postpone any future salary increases for elected city officials until after the following election.

Following discussion during the commission’s March meeting, member Bari Amadio asked for more time to consider the proposal she initially raised in January.

The city’s home-rule charter, which guides many aspects of city government, calls for waiting to initiate salary increases until after an ordinance reflecting the change is published, which can be done shortly after final approval.

Amadio cited community rancor that followed the council’s decision last year to approve salary adjustments that increased the mayor’s salary from $37,657 to $65,700, the council president’s pay from $27,743 to $47,300, and council members’ salaries from $21,712 to $39,420. She suggested that delaying the raises until after another election might have limited the hostility.

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“I think it’s a protection for the council and the mayor for the increases due to take effect after a succeeding municipal election,” she said. “No one can be accused of unjust enrichment.”

The proposed change mirrors state statute, which governs cities without a charter, but commission member Fred Suhler, a former Rochester city attorney, said several differences between state statute and the city’s charter rules exist, including the rotation of elections.

If a salary increase is delayed until the next election, several council members would still see the increase without facing an election since only four seats are up for re-election at a time.

Suhler and other commission members said such differences must be considered alongside any other proposed changes.

The commission meets online at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Audio of the meeting can be accessed live by calling 347-352-4853 and using the conference ID number 263 953 1#. A recording of the meeting will be posted at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas .



Upcoming meetings

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of May 10 include:

Rochester

  • City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Monday in City Council chambers of the city-county Government Center. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and is available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
  • Charter Commission, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Information for accessing the online meeting is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas
  • Energy Commission, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Video will be posted online following the meeting.
  • Planning and Zoning Commission, 6 p.m. Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

Olmsted County

Rochester Public Schools

  • School Board special session, 4 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW. Meeting will livestream at YouTube.com/ISD535 .
Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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