Aberdeen raises still not a done deal, councilwoman says

The size of the pay increases under consideration for the mayor and city council members in Aberdeen have sparked some outrage from residents, but a majority of the elected officials, with one exception, have said publicly they support the increases.

Ordinance 13-O-05, if passed, would increase the mayor's salary from $10,000 a year to $24,000 – an increase of 140 percent – and the four council members' salaries from $7,500 to $12,000, an increase of 60 percent.

No vote has been taken yet, however, and at least one of the four council members said this week she thinks the amount of the raises is too much.

Councilwoman Ruth Elliott says she purposely did not speak during discussions about the bill that were held involving members of the public at the last council meeting on May 20. During those discussions, the other three council members, Ruth Ann Young, Sandra Landbeck and Bruce Garner expressed support for the increases as introduced, as did Mayor Mike Bennett.

"Basically, I think a lot more work needs to be done, which is why I have been keeping my mouth shut," Elliott said Wednesday, adding that she did not feel it appropriate to comment at the most recent meeting when the subject was discussed.

Prior to that meeting – at which the pay increase ordinance was placed on the agenda for adoption – Elliott said she had planned to ask to table the bill and had so informed the city manager. Instead, the bill was removed before the meeting, she said.

Elliott said she expects the council members to discuss the bill at their next meeting Monday.

"I'm not for this much of an increase," said Elliott, who has served in city government longer than any of her colleagues, 18 years on the city council and two years as mayor. "I do think there is room for compromise, and we can work this out in a professional way."

At this point, however, Elliott would appear to be a minority of one on the pay raise bill.

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