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Aurora council approves pay raise for mayor

Updated: December 18, 2012 8:29PM

AURORA — After much debate in a series of meetings, the City Council approved a mayoral pay raise this week.

In a plan introduced by Alderman Rick Mervine, the mayor’s salary will bump up 9 percent to $128,000 in 2013, with 3 percent increases annually through 2017.

Nine aldermen voted for the mayoral raise. Aldermen Stephanie Kifowit, Rick Lawrence and John “Whitey” Peters opposed the measure.

Peters said he instead supported a resolution that would have paid the mayor based on recommendations Mayor Tom Weisner made in an earlier letter. Weisner suggested an initial increase to take the mayoral salary no higher than $125,000, and that annual increases be limited to 2.5 percent per year.

“I have no problem with the higher amount,” Peters said. “Certainly any man who is mayor... the job is worth that amount of money.”

Alderman Bob O’Connor said that Weisner asked him to introduce an amendment that would have made the pay raise less, but the council decided against it.

“We had to make a change. It’s long past due and we still have a ways to go to becoming comparable (to the salaries of other municipal mayors),” he said.

A three-alderman committee tasked with bringing forward recommendations for the mayor’s salary discussed an initial mayoral base salary hike from $117,590 to $152,000.

Weisner, nearing the end of his second term, plans to run for re-election in the spring. The salary hike is effective in the next mayoral term, which begins after the spring election.

Aldermanic raise

Aldermen also will receive a raise — 2.5 percent for their part-time positions.

Eight aldermen voted to approve the aldermanic pay scale. Kifowit, Lawrence, O’Connor and Alderman Allan Lewandowski all opposed the measure.

Aldermen now make $17,771 a year and receive other benefits, including health insurance. Sitting aldermen cannot vote for their own pay raises, said city spokesman Kevin Stahr, so the pay raises are effective at the beginning of the aldermanic seat’s next term.

Kifowit said the aldermanic position should be about public service.

“I’ve never voted for a pay raise. I think it’s more about service than getting a paycheck,” Kifowit said.

O’Connor said he has also voted against aldermanic raises in the past.

“I don’t think the difference in increase for an alderman’s salary is significant for making the job any more attractive,” O’Connor said.

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