SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.>> The city’s Charter Review Commission voted on mayor and city council salaries and added an amendment aiming to strengthen the ethics provisions under the charter Monday night.
Under the proposed charter, the mayor will receive $40,000 and benefits, while the city council members will receive $14,500 and no medical benefits.
“We reviewed the New York Conference of Mayors City Salary Data from 49 cities and found that the average salary is $50,000 for mayors and $11,139 for City Council members,” said Turner. “Our analysis shows it is very unusual for part time city council members to receive taxpayer funded health coverage.”
Turner said it’s even more unusual for the medical benefits to continue after they have left office.
Under the current charter, a city council member or mayor that serves at least 10 years receives health care coverage for life.
“We’re very clear that no elected official will receive any compensation of any kind after they leave office,” said Turner.
The new amendment about ethics was unanimously adopted 13-0 Monday night.
It reads: “It is the policy of the City that the activities of City government should be conducted in public to the greatest extent feasible in order to assure public participation and enhance public accountability.”
“Our new amendment goes above and beyond state law in promoting transparency in city government,” said Turner.
Moving forward, the charter plans to host house visits to educate voters and to answer questions that they may have.
Since the commission presented the first draft of the charter in March, it has made 34 changes based on concerns and issues the public has raised.
The commission has been meeting since May 2016 where it has held over 70 meetings and three town halls and public information sessions.
The city council shall be composed of the mayor and six members elected by the voters of the city at large.
The proposed charter calls for a city manager to run the day-to-day operations.
The final version of the proposed charter will be placed before voters in public referendum on Nov. 7, 2017.
If the charter passes, the new charter would go into full effect on January 1, 2020. The new city council will take office and then consider the appointment of the city manager.
Visit https://saratogacharter.com/ to view the charter or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.