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Commission Looks To Raise Pay For San Diego Mayor, City Council

San Diego's Salary Setting Commission met Wednesday to craft an amendment to the city charter that would raise the pay for the mayor and City Council, with some panel members believing the politicians' wages have been stagnant for too long.

The current pay is so low that it means a lack of high-quality talent runs for public office, said Bob Ottilie, an attorney and the salary commission chairman.

"You'll increase the talent pool once you increase the amount you're paying, and people will have more choices. We had one council district last cycle where nobody ran except the guy who won," Ottilie said.

Council members currently make about $75,000 annually and the mayor is paid $100,000. Ottilie said those salaries are unchanged from 2003 because the council is unwilling to approve a raise.

To remedy that, he wants to take salary setting out of the City Council's hands by changing the charter. Ottilie said giving the elected officials higher wages is a no-brainer.

"You know the people that like the $75,000 figure are the people for whom it's already a raise, or the people who make that sum of money," Ottilie said.

Ottilie said that the salary setting committee hopes to have crafted a proposed amendment by June. After that, it's up to the council to decide whether or not to put that on the November ballot.

Last month, the City Council voted 5-3 to approve the commission's recommendation that the salaries not be increased for the next two years. The commission went with the no-pay recommendation because it recognized the council would not approve a raise.

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