Mayor Chris Beutler today said that if he is re-elected, he would not accept a salary increase if one is approved by the City Council. A salary review committee recently recommended that the salary of the position be increased from $74,909 to $100,000 over the next few years. The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the recommendation September 20.
The salary of the Mayor was last increased in 2001. Beutler urged the City Council to "consider what needs to be done to ensure good people are able to serve as Mayor." If the Council approves a salary increase and he is re-elected in May, Beutler said he would ask the Finance Department to leave the amount of the increase out of his paycheck or donate the amount of the increase to the Lincoln Parks Foundation.
"The salary I receive for being Mayor is not what motivates me," Beutler said. "Part of being a public servant is putting the needs of the community above the needs of the individual. By not accepting a raise, I can guide the focus of this discussion back where it belongs: what is best for Lincoln's future."
The Mayor acknowledged that the salary review comes during difficult budget times. The City Charter allows a narrow time frame only once every four years for a review of the salary review of the Mayor and City Council. Changes do not take effect until after the City election the following May.
The Mayor asked the members of the existing Lancaster County Salary Review Committee to conduct the review along with former City Council member Linda Wilson and former City Council member and Mayor Dale Young. The committee recommended no salary increase for members of the City Council.
"The committee is a public spirited group, comprised of people with conservative values who are widely respected across the community," Beutler said. "Committee members knew their decision would be unpopular. But their integrity would not allow them to settle for the sake of political expediency. It takes truly honorable people to stand by their principles in the face of controversy."