The salary increases followed a report from a commission charged with recommending salary changes for elected officials in Atlanta every few years. The commission’s report also includes suggested pay raises for Atlanta school board members, who have yet to vote on the recommendation.
Councilors Michael Julian Bond, Andrea Boone, Joyce Sheperd and Natalyn Archibong voted against the pay raises. During the meeting, Council President Felicia Moore, who only votes in the event of a tie, said she would have voted against the measure.
“I don’t think anything they’ve asked for is unreasonable,” Moore said, referring to the commission. “It’s just that the timing right now is not very good, with the state of everything going on.”
Councilman J.P. Matzigkeit said the council had to vote on the pay raises now because people may start to launch campaigns for public office in Atlanta.
“As people look to run for the next election, they need to know now what the pay is going to be, as they contemplate whether they’re going to qualify and run,” he said. “Absent that, we really wouldn’t have done it right now.”
He said the process was fair and transparent. The commission held a public hearing on the pay raises and studied what elected officials make in other similarly sized cities, according to the report.
“I don’t feel bad about paying people competitively,” Matzigkeit said.
During Monday’s meeting, Councilman Howard Shook said anyone who voted against the measure can always refuse to accept the salary increase.