Detroit City Council approves pay raises for members, mayor

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — City Council on Tuesday unanimously signed off on a series of pay raises for its nine members, Mayor Mike Duggan and City Clerk Janice Winfrey.

Under the agreement, the city's elected officials will get an immediate 3% increase in salary. Subsequently, Duggan, Winfrey and the council will get an additional 2.5% increase March 1, and 2.5% more on July 1, according to the resolution prepared by the city's compensation board.

Councilman Roy McCalister

In the budget process last year, council adopted an amendment that made funding available for the pay increases, if recommended by Detroit's Elected Officials Compensation Commission, according to the office of the city's chief financial officer.

Councilman Roy McCalister Jr. said Tuesday the amendment was voted on by council during budget hearings in April, but the compensation panel only convened to take up the issue in recent weeks. The funding increases are reasonable, he said. 

"For a full-time council, we make a lot less than others but we have three times the work," he said. 

Duggan currently earns $174,930 per year and Council President Brenda Jones is paid $86,967. Other council members and Winfrey make $82,749 annually, according to the city's Human Resources Department. 

The approval marks the third series of increases for Detroit's elected leaders since the city's bankruptcy exit in December 2014. 

After the incremental adjustments, Duggan's pay will top out at just over $189,000, Jones at $94,000, and the remaining council members and Winfrey near $89,500. 

The pay recommendations were adopted on Nov. 5 by the compensation commission, which meets in odd years to evaluate the salaries of Detroit's elected officials. 

Winfrey was seeking a $30,000 pay bump that would have made her annually salary $112,000, stressing in an Oct. 24 letter to the commission that her pay remains lower than other Michigan clerks that oversee smaller budgets and voting operations. 

Winfrey's letter cited figures reported in a recent Michigan Municipal League survey that show Southfield's clerk earns $101,500 annually and the clerk in Grand Rapids is paid $106,000 per year. 

Council members and Duggan did not submit letters to the commission requesting raises. 

Raises were also recommended and approved in both 2015 and 2017. Prior to that, salaries of elected officials weren't increased by the commission since 2001-02.