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City commissioners opt to not pursue pay hike

Birmingham city commissioners on Monday, May 23, opted not to request putting before voters this year a possible city charter change that would have increased their pay, which now totals $5 per meeting which occur generally twice each month.

City staff presented a Michigan Municipal League comparison of commissioner pay levels in other communities for review by Birmingham commissioners in case there was support for requesting a change to the city charter in which the current pay level is specified. But there seemed to be little or no support for seeking change to the current charter which would have been subject to state level review before being placed on the ballot for voter approval this November. The current pay level has been in effect since 1991 or perhaps earlier, according to officials.

Commissioner Andrew Haig noted that by using past inflation rates, the $5 per meeting pay would in today's terms equate to $40 for each meeting but he pointed out that he was “not doing (the city commission) for the money,” a sentiment echoed by other members of the commission.

Commissioner Clinton Baller questioned the value of the pay comparison presented to commission members, noting that it lacked detail in terms of the number of meetings attended in other communities and suggested that the commission may want to “get rid of it (pay) entirely” because it most likely “costs us more to cut the checks.”

Following a brief discussion, mayor Therese Longe noted that it did not appear there were the necessary five votes to begin the charter amendment process so no action was taken.


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