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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Local Voters Reject City Council Salary Increases

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Fort Worth City Council | Image by NBC DFW

Fort Worth voters rejected a pay raise for its city council members for the second time on May 7.

The city’s charter review task force initially recommended the raise in 2015, but voters rejected the proposed pay increase in 2016. This year’s attempt again fell short again, defeated by about five percentage points — or 1,300 votes out of the total 28,238 votes.

Proposition F would have attached the city’s mayor and council members’ salaries to the salaries of city department heads and assistant department heads.

Mayor Mattie Parker’s new annual salary for 2023 would have gone up from $29,000 to $99,653, or half of what the average city department head makes.

Council members’ wages would have increased from $25,000 per year to $76,727 annually, or half of what the average assistant city department head makes.

The new salaries would then go up or down if average city employee salaries change.

The task force that recommended the raise argued council members should be paid more because it has become a “full-time job” and would attract a more varied group of candidates.

Fort Worth uses a council-manager style of government, in which elected councilmembers provide oversight, hire and fire the city manager, and define government policy.

Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa heads the task force.

“In part, it was a recognition of the hours associated with their elected positions,” Costa said. “They held many committee meetings and did a lot of research, and I think their findings were sound.”

On election day, 76-year-old Bill Eakins voted in support of the pay increase at the Summerglen Library Branch.

“I think city council should be paid,” Eakins said. “The proposal, I thought, was reasonable. They put their time and energy into this. They deserve to get paid for their work.”

During a February 8 meeting where council members voted to place the pay raise on the May 7 ballot, residents could voice their opinions on the matter. Resident Thomas Torlincasi was opposed to the pay raise.

“If you’re going to index it to the pay raises of the city staff, you should also index it … to job performance,” said Torlincasi. “Some of you have only been here eight months.”

Fort Worth voters also decided on 12 other proposals on the May 7 ballot. Only five proposals were approved, totaling $560 million.

Proposition A was the largest bond approved. It provides $369 million for streets and mobility and accounts for about two-thirds of the $560 million. It passed by a margin of over 35 percentage points.

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