Do Mountain View residents want to limit the field of people who serve on the City Council to only those who can afford to work, for the public's benefit, 20 to 30 hours a week at far below minimum wage? To people who are retired or who have the financial means to spend fewer hours in their workplace so that they can devote more time to the public's business? City Council members and other city leaders are hoping their fellow residents answer "No" to that question, and that's why voters will be asked to say "Yes" to Measure A on the November ballot.
The ballot measure would raise the monthly pay for City Council members to $1,000 from $600, and automatically adjust the pay annually to reflect cost- of-living increases, up to 5 percent. It would also end the odd practice of docking a member $25 for a missed meeting even when he or she is absent on official business.
Some current council members say they work an average of 30 hours weekly in their capacity as public servants. Their $600 compensation amounts to about $5 an hour, they say.
Voters in 2006 rejected an attempt to raise council pay to $1,500 a month, but the Measure A compromise seems fair compensation for citizens willing to do the hard work of creating policy and making decisions that affect every aspect of life in Mountain View. The council meets every week, except for a partial summer recess, and in addition to those long meeting hours must spend many more doing the homework it takes to make informed decisions and stay in touch with the community.
Measure A may make it possible for more working people with fresh ideas and a willingness to turn more of their efforts toward public service to consider a run for a council seat in the future. The Voice urges you to support Measure A.