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    Mayor, Council Getting Charter-Triggered Pay Raise Effective In July...But Councilman Lerch Calls It Inappropriate With Deficit And Refuses To Take Raise

    (June 27, 2003) -- Despite a multi-million dollar budget deficit, LB's Mayor and City Councilmembers are slated to receive a 3.7% pay raise effective July 1 -- boosting the Mayor's salary (not including taxpayer paid benefits) to $104,792.50 per year (up from $101,052.94) and Councilmembers' part time salaries (not including benefits) to $26,198.14 (up from $25,262.71).

    News of the coming pay raises, triggered by a City Charter section (text below), drew a swift response from 9th district Councilman Val Lerch.

    In a June 25 memo to the Mayor and Councilmembers obtained by, Councilman Lerch states, "I wish to advise you that I will not be taking this raise. In light of the budget short falls, I do not think it is appropriate at this time."

    Under the City Charter, the Mayor's 1988 salary of $67,500 has ballooned into the six figure range thanks to an escalator provision that specifies the Mayor's salary "shall be automatically adjusted on July 1, 1989, and on July 1 of each year thereafter equivalent to the most recent upward change in the annual average of the Consumer Price Index as published by the United States Department of Labor for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area."

    The same Charter section also provides that each Councilmember "shall receive a salary which shall be twenty-five percent of that provided for the Mayor..."

    The Mayor and Councilmembers' salary ranges have been adjusted in the budget proposals for FY 04, and the CPI increase of 3.5% will be effective July 1, 2003.

    No word on whether other Councilmembers or the Mayor intend to follow Councilman Lerch's example and decline the scheduled pay raises.


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