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Omaha Councilwoman: It's Time to Give the Mayor a Raise

The raise would be about a $20,000 increase
Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 21:30:40-05

OMAHA, Neb. — Omaha Councilwoman Aimee Melton wants to start a conversation when it comes to the mayor's salary.

"Mayor Stothert, when she was first elected in 2013 voluntarily reduced her salary by 10 percent," Councilwoman Melton said.

Now Melton says it's time for the mayor to get a raise.

"With the discussion of equal pay, between the genders, it's come up that we are actually paying our female mayor in the city of Omaha, much less than other cities of the same size," Councilwoman Melton said.

Melton says her staff have looked into the salaries of other majors in cities around the country with a similar population size.

"So we took a look at Milwaukee, Colorado Springs, Cleveland, Tampa, Saint Luis, Albuquerque," Councilwoman Melton said.

What she found caught her by surprise.

"As it turns out our mayor is being paid about 18 percent less than other mayors in cities of a similar size."

The increase would be gradual. A 3 percent increase in salary over a couple years. The total increase in salary would be about $20,000.

"It all comes from the general fund. I do think that a $20,000 increase is something that our budget could probably withstand without much pain," Councilwoman Melton said.

Mayor Stothert's salary for 2018 was right around $102,000.

Male or female, Omaha residents say whoever the mayor is, their pay should be comparable to similar cities around the country.

"It's not necessarily a male, female thing. It should be what's commensurate with what mayors are paid in the city of the size of Omaha," Omaha resident Sarah Maaske said.

Others don't care too much for population size, they believe pay should reflect job performance.

"It shouldn't be whether you're female getting a raise, it should be the job performance," Omaha resident Sue Heiman said.

Councilwoman Melton says the mayor has done a great job thus far.

"The mayor has a lot of responsibility and I think she's done an excellent job. And I do think that the salary we pay our mayor should be commensurate with what other cities of our size are paying their mayors," Councilwoman Melton said.

So why has a pay increase for the mayor not been proposed before? According to Melton, simply no one on council has taken up the task.

"Just because councils in the past just no one's done the research and no one's proposed the increase," Councilwoman Melton said.

Nothing has been proposed just yet. What's currently on the agenda is the typical 3 percent cost of living increase for the mayor. Melton would like to include the additional increase of salary to that. The next city council meeting is next Tuesday.