Detroit leaders accept 2.5% pay hike

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — The City Council on Tuesday signed off on raises recommended for its nine members, the mayor and city clerk.

Council members unanimously supported a resolution that will boost their pay 2.5 percent each of the next two years, falling in line with the same raise city employees are set to receive for the next two years.

The pay increases were proposed last month by the city’s Elected Officials Compensation Commission and go into effect on July 1.

“It’s nothing more than what the city employees of the city of Detroit will be receiving each year,” Council President Brenda Jones said after Tuesday’s session. “It makes it equal.”

As Detroit’s longest-serving council member, Jones noted even with the adjustment her overall pay has gone down as she’s taken voluntary concessions during the city’s financial struggles.

Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey had asked the commission to grant her a $20,000 pay raise to bring her salary up to a level paid to clerks in similar-sized cities with smaller budgets.

Winfrey, in a letter to the commission last month, cited added responsibility for wanting a salary comparable to other Michigan clerks. She previously told The Detroit News she was asking for a fair rate and didn’t believe it was excessive.

Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit’s council members did not request pay adjustments from the compensation panel.

General and city union employees receive an annual 2.5 percent wage increase as part of Detroit’s four-year budget plan through 2019.

The raises confirmed by council Tuesday bump Duggan’s current $166,500 salary to $170,663 in 2018 and $174,930 in 2019.

Duggan’s Chief of Staff Alexis Wiley said last month that the administration supported the pay recommendation and believed it was fair.

Council President Brenda Jones’ salary will jump from $82,776 to $84,845 in 2018 and $86,966 in 2019.

Council members and Winfrey’s salaries of $78,761 will go up to $80,730 in 2018 and $82,748 in 2019.

The compensation commission meets in odd years to evaluate the salaries of Detroit’s elected officials. It plans to meet next on Oct. 1, 2019.

Separately, council members also voted 9-0 Tuesday in favor of Duggan’s appointment of Lawrence Garcia as the city’s new top lawyer.

Garcia has practiced law for more than two decades and represented the city, Detroit Public Schools, Wayne County and the Detroit Police Department.

He’s expected to start this week and replaces Melvin Butch Hollowell who stepped down at the end of 2017 to join a private Detroit law firm.

Staff writer Nicquel Terry contributed