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Newark City Council discusses pay raises for council and mayor

Would giving Newark’s mayor and city council a raise draw more interest in running for office? One councilman believes that’s the case.

Councilman Jason Lawhorn proposed the raises at Monday’s Newark City Council meeting after this year’s April election was canceled due to lack of interest by city residents to run for office.

"With the results of this recent election cycle, having four uncontested elections including the position of mayor, it really underscores the need to revisit the topic and discuss opportunities to encourage others in our community to take a more active role in civic engagement. I've received feedback from many residents in my district and others who believe we're underpaid for the time and effort we put into the work we do," said Lawhorn.

He adds the role of council has evolved, becoming time consuming with the addition of two more meetings per month back in 2019.

Lawhorn made two proposals - one raising the salary to $15,600 for council and $18,700 for mayor which is based on inflation and the added meetings.

The other proposal would raise salaries to $10,600 for council and $12,500 for mayor which just is based on inflation.

Currently council members earn $7,000 per year while the mayor makes $8,400, and that was last increased in 2004.

The proposal seemed to have more support than not, but Councilwoman Corinth Ford said she wants more time to think about it, especially with council in some cases not giving raises to full-time staff.

"It's hard for me to think about us voting ourselves a raise when we have not been willing to give a raise to people who are employed full-time for the city," said Ford.

Any proposal would be voted on later this year and won’t take effect until after the next election.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.