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Recommendation Given On SD City Council Salary Setting

A recommendation to more than double the salaries of San Diego's mayor and council members will be taken up by the City Council on Monday, according to documents posted online today.

The city's Salary Setting Commission is proposing that the mayor receive an annual salary of $235,000 for the next two fiscal years starting July 1, and that council members be paid $175,000.

The mayor is currently paid just over $100,000 and council members $75,000. They haven't had a salary boost in nine years, according to commission chairman Robert Ottilie.

"We find that San Diego mayor and City Council salary levels are far below the level of compensation for equivalent positions in the private sector and far below the level that is needed to attract well-qualified and experienced candidates," Ottilie wrote. "In addition, current salary levels place the mayor and City Council far below a large percentage of city workers, most of whom have far fewer obligations and responsibilities."

In the 2010 calendar year, 3,528 city workers took home more money than council members, he said.

A sample of elected city council members polled by U-T SD recently found no backing for the pay raise.

In another memo, Ottilie said he recognized the lack of public support for members raising their own salaries, and suggested instead that they offer voters a City Charter amendment that changes the method for fixing pay rates. Otherwise, council members could keep the power to set salaries and have changes take effect for each district when they leave office.

Ottilie said the seven-member panel met six times but only received input from two members of the public and no elected officials despite outreach attempts.

Instead, the commissioners studied salaries in comparable western cities and took into consideration San Diego's high cost of living, inflation, the need to remain competitive to attract talent and other factors.

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