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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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