The Minneapolis Park Board is asking an independent panel to look at whether board members should get raises.

In a lengthy statement released during the board’s Wednesday night meeting, President Brad Bourn said the panel is made up of former city and park officials.

Citing progress the board has made on its initiatives, he said it’s now time to “convene a transparent conversation about commissioner compensation parallel with our annual budget discussions.” In his statement, Bourn said he has asked the panel to give the board its recommendations no later than Nov. 7.

“If this panel recommends a salary increase and the board votes to approve it, I will personally donate that increase back to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in 2019, exactly as I did in 2014,” he said in the statement, which he read at the meeting.

Park Board members make $12,438 a year plus benefits for what’s considered to be a part-time job.

Also on Wednesday night, the board approved interim leader Mary Merrill’s extension 6-2 (one member was absent), keeping her in the role until a permanent commissioner is found. She will fill the role until Dec. 31 at her current salary of $14,278 per month.

Her contract expired Oct. 31. Merrill has said she doesn’t want to be the permanent replacement.

At the meeting, two commissioners wanted to move into a closed session to discuss Merrill’s extension. Earlier in the meeting, concerns were raised about how the superintendent’s office decides who is awarded contracts.

“I did ask to have a closed session because I really wanted to have a robust discussion,” said Commissioner Meg Forney. Referring to Merrill, she said: “It’s not about you, but it’s seriously to understand what we’re going into.”

Commissioner Steffanie Musich and Forney voted against extending the contract.

In May, the board hired St. Louis Park-based kpCompanies to handle the national search to find a permanent replacement for former Superintendent Jayne Miller.

Originally, the search firm hoped to have the final candidate selected by the end of October. It now looks like the top choice could be picked sometime in November.