Ann Arbor Mayor, Council Pay: No Action

No action was taken on salaries for Ann Arbor mayor and city councilmembers at the Dec. 16, 2013 meeting of the local officers compensation commission – because the commission failed to achieve a quorum. The current salaries, which have not been changed since 2008, are $42,436 for mayor and $15,913 for a councilmember.

It appears that the most likely outcome for this year is that those salaries will remain level for the next two years.

The LOCC meeting took place at 2:30 p.m. in the third floor conference room of the Ann Arbor city hall. Eunice Burns and Roger Hewitt are the only two members of the seven-member commission who are appointed and serving, and they both attended the meeting. 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.

Assistant city attorney Mary Fales attended the Dec. 16 meeting as well, and after taking a roll call, declared that a quorum, which consists of four members, had not been achieved. So Burns and Hewitt voted immediately to adjourn the meeting. The total time for the meeting was about 2 minutes –  28 minutes less than the half hour Burns remarked she’d put on her parking meter.

Fales told Burns and Hewitt at the meeting that when the file of applications for the LOCC was reviewed, no eligible applications were identified.

Hewitt asked Fales to apprise him, the chair of the commission, if additional members are appointed before the end of the year, which would allow the commission to meet and achieve a quorum. Those appointments would need to be made at the city council’s meeting later today (Dec. 16, 2013), the last regular meeting of the council scheduled for this year. That appears somewhat unlikely.

The seven-member LOCC is supposed to meet every odd-numbered year and make a salary determination for the next two years. The commission is not allowed to meet in an even-numbered year. The LOCC’s determination takes effect unless rejected by the city council. If the determination is rejected, then the salaries remain the same as they were.

Before the LOCC meeting, Fales told The Chronicle that she assumed the salaries would stay the same if the LOCC made no determination. The statute and ordinance make explicit that if the city council rejects the LOCC determination, then the salaries remain unchanged.

However, neither the state enabling statute nor the city’s ordinance (based that statute) appear to give any explicit guidance about what is supposed to happen if no determination is made by the LOCC in a given year. The Ann Arbor LOCC makes salary determinations for just two years at a time. So the determination made by the LOCC two years ago was only for 2012 and 2013. The Ann Arbor city charter stipulates that councilmembers serve without pay – but the procedure to set salaries through an LOCC supersedes the city charter.

The fact that Ann Arbor’s LOCC has an inadequate number of members has been known for some time. At the 2011 meeting of the Ann Arbor’s LOCC, commissioners talked about the three vacancies at that time. In the interim, the terms of Bill Lockwood and Martha Darling, who were appointed and serving in 2011 – have expired. The appointments of Burns and Hewitt will expire in October of 2014, so 2013 year will be their last year of active service unless they are reappointed. [For more detailed Chronicle coverage of the issue, see: "Column: What Do We Pay Ann Arbor's Mayor?"]

This brief was filed from the conference room on the third floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.

One Comment

  1. December 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm | permalink

    By my count, 594 words for a 2 minute meeting. Glad you were there to cover this.