Minneapolis Park Board commissioners will find out this week whether a group of former city officials believe they should get a pay bump.
And if their recommendations do favor a salary increase, at least one commissioner — who has been supportive of the increase — said she would now vote against it.
"As I've said all along, I believe raising commissioner salaries over time would enable a more diverse group of candidates to seek the office and serve their community — something I think we could all agree is a good thing," Commissioner LaTrisha Vetaw said in a Facebook post last month.
But Vetaw said she cannot vote in favor of raises this year, saying a pay boost now would not immediately diversify the board. In actuality, it would just give the current board more money.
Park Board members make $12,438 a year plus benefits for what's considered a part-time job. Vetaw had suggested a salary of about $30,000.
The idea was first floated last spring when Park Board President Brad Bourn and interim Superintendent Mary Merrill talked about hiring a liaison for the public, which sparked a debate about workloads. The pay issue resurfaced in August when a former commissioner wrote a scathing Facebook post criticizing any raise.
Then in early October, Bourn asked an independent panel of mostly former city and Park Board officials to recommend compensation guidelines.
Former Park Board President Tom Nordyke, chairman of the salary panel, said Monday that he will present its recommendation during Wednesday's board meeting.
"It's not going to be very exciting," Nordyke said. "… it was pretty simple."
The panel — made up of Nordyke, former Minneapolis City Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden, former City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren, City Council Audit Committee Chairwoman Linea Palmisano and Henry Jimenez, the executive director of the Minnesota Latino Affairs Council — met twice.
They based their decision on several factors, including existing pay and benefits and how the board's compensation compares to other local municipalities.
Also on Wednesday, the board will hold its first of several public comment periods regarding the recommended 2019 budget. The budget should be adopted around the same time the board hopes to pick its next superintendent.