Voters To Decide Whether To Give Tulsa City Councilors A Raise

Friday, November 8th 2013, 10:39 pm
By: News On 6

Do Tulsa city councilors deserve a pay raise? Councilors make $18,000 a year, but a proposal on next Tuesday's ballot could give them a $6,000 pay increase.

Item number one on the list of the three propositions on the ballot talks about the increase. City councilors say the power to make the decision is now in the people's hands.

"It's time for this position to be revaluated and at least get some kind of modest raise," said Councilor Jack Henderson.

Henderson said being on the Tulsa City Council is a full-time job, and he said it's time it paid like one.

He's supporting a proposition on Tuesday's ballot to raise the council's pay from $18,000 to $24,000. He and his fellow councilors had several chances to raise their pay, but haven't done it until now.

2/21/2013 Related Story: Tulsa City Councilors Ask For Pay Raise

And if the raise passes, he'll never have the chance again. That's because the $6,000 raise comes with a caveat, preventing the council from ever voting to raise its own salaries again.

Henderson called the raise a fair deal, saying the figure is on par with other cities the same size that handle the same amount of work.

We checked around the region to see what other cities paid. Down the turnpike, Oklahoma City councilors make $12,000 a year. Wichita city councilors make more than $35,000 a year, and Memphis city councilors make more than $29,000 a year.

The voters are split.

"I mean, I don't know what that's going toward. I mean, they're getting a raise, but what are they actually, really working for to get that raise?" said Tulsa resident Gabe Stroh.

"I think they should be making a little bit more money," Stacy Stroh said. "It's tough work, it's not easy to make a lot of people who have different opinions actually agree on things and move forward with things."

Councilor Henderson said more pay could attract more qualified and experienced candidates.

"Anybody that expects for a councilor to be in charge of spending millions of dollars every day, and still pay them $18,000 less than what it would take somebody to clean the building, that does not seem responsible to me," Henderson said.

If the pay increase is passed, it wouldn't go into effect until December 1, 2014.

The two other proposals on the ballot are for the "Improve Our Tulsa" capital improvements package.

11/6/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Voters Also To Decide On Three Propositions In Tuesday Election