The Hobbs City Commission is asking for the public’s input on the possibility of giving themselves a pay raise.
During Monday’s City Commission meeting, Mayor Sam Cobb and commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of publishing the proposed ordinance presented by City Attorney Mike Stone. Commissioner Garry Buie voted no to the ordinance publication. The proposed ordinance would increase the mayor’s salary $8,000 to $26,000 and city commissioners’ salary $7,200 to $12,000.”
Stone said pursuant to the City of Hobbs Charter 8-1, the salary of the mayor, mayor pro-tem and the city commissioners is determined by a city ordinance. He said the mayor’s salary has not been adjusted since 2001 and the city commissioners’ salary since 1989.
“The salary for the mayor has been $18,000 per year for the past 17 years,” Stone said. “The salary for the city commissioners has been $4,800 per year for the past 28 years. This proposed new ordinance will increase the mayor’s salary to $26,000 per year. The city commissioners would be increased to $12,000 per year.”
Stone said the ordinance will come back before the commission during the Jan. 8 meeting for final approval. If the ordinance is approved the salary increases will not be effective until July 1, 2018 in order to work the salary increase in the city’s budget. Commission members serving during the term that the ordinance is enacted cannot benefit for the salary increase, according to Stone.
“If it were to be approved in January there’s four districts that would be eligible potentially for an increase,” Stone said.
Those district commissioners include, District 2 Commissioner Cynthia Calderon, District 4 Commissioner Joe Calderon, District 5 Commissioner Garry Buie and District 6 Commissioner Don Gerth. Commissioners Cynthia Calderon, Joe Calderon and Don Gerth will run in the March 6 municipal election to keep their commission seats. Buie will not run.
District 1 Commissioner Marshall Newman, District 3 Commissioner Pat Taylor and Mayor Cobb will not be eligible for the salary raise.
“There will be two commissioners who will not be eligible for that increase if it’s approved until the newly elected commissioners in 2020,” Stone said. “The same thing with the mayor.”
Stone said city staff conducted research to determine what current commissioners are being paid throughout the state and which salaries were all across the board.
“The numbers we are suggesting here are pretty adequate,” Stone said. “As the city attorney for the last 10 years, I’ve seen many of you commissioners come and go and I’m convinced that none of our city commissioners are doing it for the money, because you’re not getting very much money to do it. It’s more of a civic duty and I appreciate that very much. Our city over the last 10 years has increased phenomenally in the budget and in the business that we attend to. I think from purely from a business standpoint it’s a fair increase to ask for.”
Some commissioners are not for the salary raise and said pay raises should be for City of Hobbs employees.
“I’m a little uncomfortable but I’m going to vote for the publication because it’s only a publication, but we don’t do it for the money … I had hope we were able to give (the employees) something,” Joe Calderon said.
Buie said he voted against the publication because commissioners should not be concerned with being paid and should be more concerned on how to offer pay raises to the city staff.
“We didn’t step up and at the time we couldn’t pass that (pay raise) along to the employees of the City of Hobbs,” Buie said. “I, like everyone up here, did not run for this position for a salary. I would have done it for nothing and still do it for nothing. I don’t think anyone who gets this position should be looking at 1,000 bucks a month or any increase. I think they should be doing it for the good of the people and the employees of this city.”