Tahlequah Daily Press

January 14, 2013

Trustees to vote on salary increase

By ROB W. ANDERSON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — The first step to increasing salaries of Hulbert board of trustees member was taken during a meeting Thursday.

Members unanimously passed a measure that will be finalized following a special meeting at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, presumably making the raises official. The measure will increase the monthly salary for the mayor from $300 to $500, while the two trustee position salaries will be increased from $250 to $500. All three posts are decided by city elections.

Trustee George Truitt asked that the salary hike item be added to the agenda, saying the raises would compensate board members for time and effort put forth on community-related activities.

“I asked for that to be put on the agenda simply because of seeing how much time we’re putting into doing work as council members,” he said. “If you guys feel it’s appropriate, fine, and if you don’t, that’s fine, too. I think we wanted it on there because I know Shirley’s putting in an inordinate amount of time dealing with things taking place. [Mayor Teague] put in a lot of time in on that [Christmas] parade, and puts in a lot of time on things that people just don’t even see.”

To provide a number to begin the discussion, Truitt suggested a $25 increase to the existing per-month compensation for the mayor and trustees.

City Clerk Leona Welch, who received a $1-per-hour raise at the December meeting, said due to the timing of the spring election for the seats held by Teague and Beckham, and the re-election schedule for Truitt’s seat in two years, the compensation for all three positions could be increased without creating an problem for the city budget. Current board members would not get raises until after they are re-elected

“I realize the mayor’s currently making a little bit more than the other two trustees, but that’s only a figure,” said Welch. “All three of you volunteer, you’re at meetings, you come down and check on things. I think it should be straight across the board that each one should make the same thing.”

Welch said should the ordinance pass, the change would not go into effect until April.

Teague agreed that each elected position should receive the same level of compensation.

“With the way the mayor changes so much, I think it should be straight across the board that all of us should make the same [amount],” she said. “And it’s like [Leona] said, we don’t do this very often.”

In other matters, a proclamation was approved to declare the week of Jan. 14 each year as “Geek the Library Week.” Public officials, educators, students and other citizens are asked to observe the week by celebrating the public library and the access provided to information and other resources, and to learn about how the public library is funded.