Miami commissioners to ask voters for $53,000 pay raise
By Susan Stabley
Miami city commissioners could get pay raises of more than $53,000 a year if voters approve an amendment Nov. 4.
Commissioners voted last week to ask voters to approve an increase in their annual salary to $58,200 from $5,000. The measure also would provide for annual increases based on inflation.
The salary hasn't changed since it was set in 1949. Commissioners do get other benefits including cellular phones and health insurance.
The proposed salary is 60% of Mayor Manny Diaz's salary of $97,000 and would be paid monthly if approved.
The mayor also receives health and other benefits.
Commissioner Tomas Regalado said he supports the amendment, presented by Chairman Johnny Winton, but said no funds should be used to promote the issue.
"I know Johnny has his heart in the right place. What he says makes sense, but I am not campaigning for it," Commissioner Regalado said Monday. "I cannot ask the people to pay me more - not until everything is done in the city in terms of reducing taxes and fees."
Commissioner Regalado said he thinks the proposal "is going down in flames."
Supporters of the proposal say it would increase the pool of candidates and encourage politicians to spend more time on public issues. Some say higher commissioner salaries lead to less need for lobbyists and can reduce corruption.
Commissioner Joe Sanchez, a principal at local a forensic accounting firm, said Monday that he likely would go part-time at his regular job if the amendment passed.
"I would be able to scale back my time," he said, " and focus on the city."