PD Council Cuts Pay, But not Benefits

Recommended plan would slash council members pay by 50%.

The Palm Desert City council voted 5-0 to slash their base pay by nearly 50%, but chose not to act on the issue of benefits for councilmembers.

City Attorney David Erwin advised council not to discuss benefits because of a potential conflict of interest.  Erwin will look into any potential conflict before discussion of benefits at the September 27 meeting.

Two plans for councilmembers compensation were submitted: one by the ad hoc Citizen's Compensation Committee,  along with a similar recommendation by City Manager John Wohlmuth.

Both proposed plans would cut the basic pay of Council members in half, to a base of $22,500 per year, plus benefits. 

The differences are in health insurance, where the Citizen's Committee plan allows insurance benefits of up to $7,500 a year; to be adjusted to provide coverage at the second-highest level offered by the city, or a cash allowance to purchase a separate private plan. 

The City Manager plan allows health and dental benefits to be provided at the same level of that at other City employees. 

The City Manager plan will also deny Council members eligibility for the City's Life and AD&D insurance, long-term disability coverage, or vision coverage.  Council members will be allowed to take part in the City's IRS Section 125 Flexible Spending plan, as allowed by Federal Law.

The council is currently paid an annual salary of $44,256, set by a vote in 2007.  After benefits are added, one council member made over $66,000 last year while the low was just over $46,000.




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