Mayor-elect Jacob Frey said he regrets the lack of public discussion before he voted with the rest of the City Council this month to give himself and council members a $10,000 raise.
“The issue was not the substance but the process,” said Frey, who takes office as mayor on Tuesday. “I wish it had gone through the regular process.”
Frey was one of 12 council members who voted for the $10,000 salary increases for the mayor and council members at the council’s Dec. 15 meeting. Council Member Abdi Warsame was absent.
The resolution, which raises a City Council member’s salary to $98,695 and the mayor’s salary to $126,528, was passed without discussion at the last council meeting of the year and did not go through any council committees. The mayor’s salary in Minneapolis will now slightly surpass that of the St. Paul mayor, who earns $126,000.
The $140,000 to pay for the raises was not included in the $1.4 billion 2018 budget, which the council adopted 13-0 on Dec. 6.
As part of the resolution, the council voted to pull money from seven city departments to fund the pay increase. The mayor and council members will receive salary increases each of the remaining years of their four-year terms “equal to the average annual across the board percentage salary increase of the collective bargaining agreements approved by the City Council in the preceding year,” according to the resolution.
Frey said he has been focused on his transition into office and should have paid closer attention to how the salary increase was going to be introduced in the council meeting.
“When decisions like this are made, we do need more input, and I’ll make sure to bring that necessary transparency to my administration in coming years,” Frey said.