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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 85  |  October 23, 2020

Council opposes raises in current pay for board, commission, and council members


The council rejected a proposal by Council Member Toni Iseman to increase the compensation the city pays members of the Planning and Arts Commissions, the Design Review Board, and itself.

It is said that timing is everything and this is not the time to increase compensation for what are essentially volunteer positions, four members of the council agreed.

“Hold off for now and bring it back at the mid-year budget meeting,” said Mayor Bob Whalen.

“We need to set an example.”

Options included:

1. Increase compensation based on the growth of the Consumer Price Index over the last two years, which is 5 percent.

2. Increase compensation to match the increase given to municipal employees and management in the past two years: 2.5 percent in 2019 and zero in 2020.

3. Increase the compensation by 10 percent, the maximum allowed council members per Government Code.

4. No increase.

Iseman said the increase would be a gesture of appreciation. 

“It’s symbolic,” she said.

Only one member of the public weighed in on item. 

“I totally support your motion” said Cindy Shopoff.

Depending on the option, if approved council’s $908 monthly salaries would have increased to $953 by No. 1, to $931 by No. 2, or to $999 by No. 3.

The five members of the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board would have increased their $393 monthly compensation to $412 (1), to $402 (2), or to $431 (3). The eight members of the Arts Commission would go from their current monthly compensation of $137 to $144 (1), to $140 (2), or to $151 (3).

The total annual cost for the increases in Option 1 would have been $5,900; $3,000 for Option 2; or $11,800 for Option 3.

Any of the options would have required additional funding for this year, but due to savings in travel and conference attendance related to COVID-19, no additional appropriations would have been needed until future budgets.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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