Ann Arbor mayor John Hieftje announced on Oct. 11, 2013 that he would not seek re-election to an eighth two-year term. That prompted Ann Arbor residents to begin speculating about who might seek election to that position in 2014. It’s a position that I think might just as well be called “chief pothole filler.” More on that in a bit.
One of the questions surely weighed by any potential candidate for Ann Arbor mayor is purely practical: What does the Ann Arbor mayor get paid? The $42,436 mayoral salary would, for some of us, represent a significant increase in annual income. For others, it would reflect a dramatic pay cut. A councilmember’s salary, at $15,913, is considerably less than the mayor’s.
My point in writing today is not to explore the policy question of mayoral or councilmember salaries. That’s a question ultimately determined by a public body called the local officers compensation commission (LOCC). The seven-member LOCC is supposed to meet every odd-numbered year and make a salary determination for the next two years. That determination takes effect unless rejected by the city council. If it’s rejected, then the salaries remain the same as they were.
A check of the calendar shows that this year is odd-numbered. And it turns out that as far as the LOCC is concerned, it is also an odd year. One odd thing is that the LOCC has not yet convened a meeting, with just about two weeks left in 2013. However, a notice came through from the city clerk’s office this week that a meeting of the LOCC is now scheduled for Dec. 16, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. in the third floor conference room of the Ann Arbor city hall – located at 301 E. Huron St. in downtown Ann Arbor.
The other odd thing is that if you attend that meeting, you will not see a seven-member public body convened around a conference room table deliberating toward a salary determination. Instead you’ll likely see just two commissioners – Eunice Burns and Roger Hewitt. The city’s online Legistar system shows them as the only members of the LOCC who have current appointments. Burns is a former city councilmember and a former member of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board. Hewitt currently serves on the DDA board. The DDA connection is coincidental.
So my point in writing is to reflect on this question: Why does anyone think it’s reasonable, let alone legal, that the seven-member body responsible for determining mayor and council salaries could convene a meeting – with only two members who are appointed and serving?