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The cost of Lodi City Council: Part 1

Lodi City Council members once served for minimal pay. But a News-Sentinel review of hundreds of city documents found that members are now eligible for a range of compensation — including a stipend, varied insurance coverage and travel expenses — that cost taxpayers tens of thousands each year. Some say the rising expense is justified, as members do difficult work and sometimes put in long hours. Others, though, question whether council pay and benefits have become excessive.

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Alan Nakanishi, Lodi City Council member

“Many who run for city council don’t have medical insurance, so this helps them. If you want to save money, get old guys.”

Dave Renison, San Joaquin Taxpayers Association

“Fair compensation is appropriate for time spent on the duties of City Hall, but the important symbolism of vol- unteering and community service should count for the rest ...”

Ed Miller, Citizens In Action

“They say they’re going to be trans- parent then they’re not. Short of running for office myself, I don’t know how to get them to change other than have people stand up and be counted.”

Joanne Mounce, Lodi City Council member

“If you want family covered, you pay for that yourself. Otherwise, only insure the elected person. That is what people want ... and we’re all equally elected by the people.”

JoAnne Mounce, Lodi City Council member

“It is almost impossible to stay elsewhere (other) than the host hotel. You are running back and forth, and it just doesn’t make sense.”

Alan Nakanishi, Lodi City Council member

“For new council members, it’s good for them. It’s good for them to learn. So I can understand why they are important.”

Joanne Mounce, Lodi City Council member

“They’re a community eye when it comes to the (Lodi Animal) Shelter and ideas. The people who work on it bring fresh ideas. They’ve served the council well and I think they will continue to do so.”

Alan Nakanishi, Lodi City Councilman and Lodi ophthalmologist

“Lodi and Adventist Health will be a terrific combination. I know personally the quality of work Adventist Health does, and it is impressive.”

Alan Nakanishi, Lodi City Councilman

“As a city, we can ask General Mills if we wait to raise rates for two years, will they stay?”

Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2014 12:00 am

Thinking about running for Lodi City Council this fall? Have you thought about retirement, or does your entire family need root canals? What about a new pair of glasses? Don’t worry, the City of Lodi has you covered.

Over the years, the overall compensation for council members has steadily increased. For compensation purposes, the job is now considered full-time, and comes complete with retirement and a slew of medical benefits, as well as a $10,000-plus yearly stipend.

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Welcome to the discussion.

4 comments:

  • Walter Chang posted at 4:20 pm on Mon, Mar 3, 2014.

    Walt Posts: 1149

    "Short of running for office myself"

    Ed, why just bark from the periphery?

    When you could actually alter the outcome on matters of importance, by casting a deciding vote instead?

    I think it's time for you take action.

    Real action.

    Running for city council is a viable option. Please give it some consideration.

    I'll support you!

    [thumbup]

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:23 pm on Mon, Mar 3, 2014.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    If these council members have been getting contributions to PERS, the city might want to check the city charter.

    That's how Stockton got into trouble because it was found that making contributions for the mayor and council members was against the city charter - making the contributions illegal.

    No one in the Stockton city bureauacracy even KNEW it was against the charter - a Stockton Record columnist had to tell them.

     
  • Victor Ferrise posted at 11:38 am on Sun, Mar 2, 2014.

    Symbiont Posts: 6

    I have a question - when was the last time anyone on any city council wasn't a prominent business person or from a family of means? Does wanting the best for your town require a masters or is plain old horse sense enough?

     
  • Mike Falkenberg posted at 11:55 am on Sat, Mar 1, 2014.

    LodiToday Posts: 6

    This makes me sick to read about the Greed of these Self-serving Council Members
    who should be serving the community. I came from a city of 800,000 and the City
    Council members got paid $800 per month without benefits. They all had full-time jobs
    and they truly served the community. Only the Mayor or the Public Relations officer took trips to represent the city. Most of the Council is retired, drawing retirement monies,and Dr. Nakansihi and Phil Katzakian should be ashamed of themselves for all the money they make and taking advantage of the taxpayers of Lodi. I have a Masters Degree, worked in the medical field for 23 yrs. and if I served on the Council of this little town, I would do it for $800 a month only, with no benefits.

     
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