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Cell Tower Update 9.21.11
     
 


Nov. 17, 2010

  It may soon be time to revisit the question of what to pay West Sacramento’s mayor.

  Currently, the four council members and the mayor each receive a stipend of $300 per month plus $30 per meeting. Divide that by dozens of hours of reading reports and attending meetings and civic events, and you’ll find that’s not very much. Consider that council members – and especially the mayor – may also be called by duty away from any “day job” they might have, and it’s even less.  

  This stipend may work well enough for council members. But the job of West Sacramento mayor is even bigger than that of a council member, and it’s separately elected by voters.  

  West Sacramento has been fortunate to have a longtime mayor, Christopher Cabaldon, who has been able to earn a living privately while putting in scores of hours per month as the city’s mayor. Few can do that. And the person who just challenged Cabaldon for the mayor’s post happens to be retired, and doesn’t have to have a “day job.” Not everyone is in that position, either. But whoever won that election, the city would have got a bargain – a lot of hours of work from the mayor, and a diminished capacity to earn a living, for a few hundred dollars a month.  

  For many people who might otherwise be qualified to be mayor, the job just isn’t financially possible. It’s too hard to work and be mayor (and, heaven forbid, have a family) at the same time.  

  Sometime in the near future, West Sacramentans may want to consider offering their mayor something more than a symbolic stipend. Perhaps a compensation level equivalent to a part-time wage is now appropriate for mayor of this city of over 40,000. That would certainly increase the number of qualified people who could afford to run for the job.  

  Of course, there’s no reason to raise the pay right now. The city has landed a qualified mayor for the next couple of years, and the city is still facing budget hardships triggered by the country’s “Great Recession.”  The timing to raise the stipend is wrong. But the timing to talk about raising the stipend is pretty good – a time when it can be discussed for some point relatively far in the future, with no particular mayor or mayoral candidate in mind to cloud the discussion.

###

There’s a little item in the News-Ledger’s police log this week: 

  A woman called dispatchers to report that she had just accidentally backed into somebody’s pickup truck. The truck’s owner wasn’t around. But instead of sneaking away under cover of darkness, the woman reported that she was leaving her contact information on the truck’s windshield, as well as with police, in case the other driver contacted them. 

   It’s the kind of honesty that doesn’t show up often enough in the police log.  

  Parking lot driver, whoever you are, the News-Ledger salutes you.


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