SA City Council suggests bringing potential pay raises in line with city’s median income levels

Commission Co-chairs presented their final recommendations to council which included a pay bump of $80,000 and $95,000 for the mayor.

SAN ANTONIO — For six months, the Charter Review Commission has been researching and discussing whether members of San Antonio City Council and the mayor should get a pay raise.  Council members currently make $45,722 a year, while the mayor makes $61,725. 

On Wednesday, commission co-chairs Bonnie Prosser Elder and David Zammiello presented their final recommendations to council ahead of an August vote on whether to put it before voters this fall. Those recommendations included a new salary of $80,000 for council members and $95,000 for the mayor. 

“The only people who can hold office are those who can afford to do so,” said Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, who represents District 2. “The average worker cannot take off and lose their salary for the months that they’re away.”

Most council members agree a raise is needed. Former Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, when resigning her seat, cited pay as one of the reasons for leaving

“My elected predecessor, Ana Sandoval, retired from this role to find a salary to support her family,” said Marina Alderete Gavito, the councilwoman for District 7. “She had to make the brave and, I’m sure, a difficult decision to leave this role in order to be able to support her family, and that should not be the case. Council has long been considered a part-time job, and that is also no longer the case.”

While there was consensus among council members about a pay raise, they also suggested that the new salary reflect the current average median income in San Antonio. 

“I’d be comfortable at a thre-person household (amount). I think (that’s) pretty appropriate but less significant of a jump that’s being proposed,” McKee-Rodriguez said. “It’d be less than what the commission is proposing.” 

Councilmember Phyllis Viagran of District 3 explained that, as a result of being a council member and working part-time, she lost out on retirement. 

“Eight years of no retirement at the age where I’m at is significant,” she said. 

Other recommendations were also discussed, including new term lengths for council, and city manager pay and term limits. 

Council will decide in mid-August what will be on the November ballot and what the exact wording will be. Public comment will be allowed at that meeting. 

Voters will then get the ultimate decision on November’s ballot. 

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