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Is the City Council's Suggested Pay Scale Too High?

In this letter to the editor, a Douglasville resident examines the City Council's potential new pay scale compared to other local municipalities.

To: Mayor Persons, City of Douglasville Councilmembers, Douglas County Sentinel, Douglasville Patch, Bill Osborne

From: Darren Bak

Re: Mayor and City Council Pay

Date: February 5, 2013

I would like to provide some research and commentary in light of the recent articles in the Douglas County Sentinel and Douglasville City Council discussions surrounding the Grand Jury and its recommendation to change the way the City Council and Mayor are paid.

First, let’s review a snapshot of the total compensation package for the Mayor and Councilmembers.

 Current Pay Structure (2012)

 

Meeting Pay

Expense Allowance

Health Insurance/Benefits (3)

Car – Tahoe (1)

WSA Board Seat (2)

Comp Package

Mayor

 $36,621

 $4,800

 $22,000

 $7,450

 $5,400

 $76,271

Council

 $9,696

 $1,800

 $22,000

 

 

 $33,496

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  Value of Tahoe calculated at $13000/48 payments + $250/month fuel + $100 month insurance & misc.

 

2.  WSA Board Seat guaranteed by Charter of WSA @ $105/meeting (Average pay taken from DCS article by Ron Daniel)

3.  Health Insurance/Benefits cost figure is from DCS article by Amanda Thomas

 

 

 

 

Notice the total compensation package of the Mayor at $76,271 and each Councilmember at $33,496. These really got my attention, are they getting yours?

Mr. Yockey is referenced in several articles published in the Douglas County Sentinel so I will refer to him by name in this document. Mr. Yockey presented a Salary Proposal that compares Douglasville to three other governmental entities. I feel it’s only prudent to compare Douglasville to those entities in the context of population and budgets managed. I added Newnan, GA as a reference because some businesses that located there have considered both Newnan and Douglasville including the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which opted to locate in Newnan. Newnan, GA is similar in population and budget managed as shown in the chart, as well as median household income.  Let’s call Newnan the competition.

 

Douglas County 

Douglas County Schools

Sandy Springs Council

Douglasville Council

Newnan Council

Mayor / Chairperson

 $88,000

 $24,050

 $25,000

 $36,621

 $10,000

Council Members average

 $21,443

 $19,240

 $12,000

 $9,696

 $5,000

Population

 133,355

 133,355

 93,853

 31,173

 33,725

Budget

 $89,400,000

 $179,000,000

 $82,000,000

 $21,450,000

 $23,000,000

Median Household Income

 $49,544

 $49,544

 $88,225

 $47,596

 $52,767

Some interesting data emerged from this including that the entities referenced in Mr. Yockey’s proposal are on average 386% larger in population served and manage a budget that is 545% larger than the city of Douglasville.

Pay Structure

I believe it is important to understand the Mayor and Councilmember pay as it relates to population and budget. Using the data above I determined the amount of money each councilmember/mayor are paid on a per capita service level basis. In layman’s terms it is how much elected officials get paid for each constituent they personally represent. For instance, Douglasville is served by 7 councilmembers and the total population is 31,173 people.  $9,696(average pay) /(31,173/7) (number of residents served by one councilperson) = $2.18 per person served.

Now compare that to the entities referenced in Mr. Yockey’s report on the chart below. Please note these figures are under the current pay averages and do not include the proposed new pay structure as presented by Mr. Yockey and do not included healthcare, benefits, expense allowance, WSA pay,  and the use of the Tahoe.

 

Douglas County 

Douglas County Education

Sandy Springs Council

Douglasville Council

Newnan Council

Net Pay/Population Served

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor/Chair

 $0.66

 $0.18

 $0.27

 $1.17

 $0.30

Council

 $0.64

 $0.58

 $0.77

 $2.18

 $0.89

I was very surprised as to the pay discrepancy that arose when using this method. The data suggests that the Council and Mayor are paid on average 323% more than these peers. I then compared pay rates to budgets managed and the results were even more biased for the Douglasville City Council. The average resulted in pay that was more than 389% higher for the Douglasville City Council when compared to the other entity budgets referenced by Mr. Yockey.

Salary Proposal – The Yockey Plan

Mr. Yockey’s Salary Proposal suggests a base pay of $14,200 per year for Councilmembers plus a $1,800 expense account. This new Salary Proposal (not including expense account, healthcare, benefits, etc.) represents the equivalent of $3.19 per person served by a councilmember - an alarming amount when compared to the other referenced government entities.  If the Salary Proposal is enacted then pay will be 415% greater when compared to the pay of the other government officials referenced in his proposal.

I recently read that city employees were granted an annual pay raise of $1,050 per year for a full time employee – or the equivalent of $0.50 per hour. I commend the Council and Mayor in being able to create space in the budget to do this.

However, Mr. Yockey’s Proposal suggests an increase in pay for the Council by $10.72 per hour, even more if I use his calculations. If that logic in pay was used then Mr. Osborne (City Manager) should be paid commensurate with the City Manager of Sandy Springs to the tune of $400,000! (I smile when I think of the look on his face when he reads this.)

I encourage this City Council and Mayor to study the pay scale and operations of the City of Newnan, GA. They have a tremendous amount of business growth going on, manage a budget of equal value compared to Douglasville, have similar population and similar household incomes, and have fewer councilmembers doing the work of the people. Perhaps Newnan should be considered when determining pay proposals.

I also suggest that you reach out to cities that economically are our peers and ones that have similar populations and budgets and then compare your pay to them. You will find, as I have, that you have nothing to complain about.  Comparing Douglasville to Sandy Springs, Douglas County, and Douglas County School System is a big stretch as the data above suggests.

You have one chance to get this right. We are watching.

Respectfully,

Darren Bak, Douglasville resident

Jan February 12, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Finally, someone who put ALL of the numbers together. Thank you Darren Bak for your hard work at giving us a clear picture! Mr Yockey's request is ridiculous. They all knew the pay when they ran for these positions. If they vote to put a pay raise thru, it should go into effect on the next term. If they get elected again, it will be theirs. I suggest they get the same $0.50 that they feel all the rest of the city employees are worth. Also, perhaps pay ??? (perhaps $5000) for anyone who does not need medical coverage, and therefore declines it. Surely some of those people have coverage already... And last, but not least, let's not forget to add in the $10,000 deductible for the mayors new car expense!

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