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After more discussion, Bozeman Commissioners give final approval of pay raises

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 17 2013 12:05:14 AM MST
Updated On: Dec 17 2013 12:06:57 AM MST
Bozeman City Commission Aquatics survey results
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

During Monday night's Bozeman City Commission meeting, commissioners were originally set to make a final vote at the beginning of their meeting to approve pay raises for themselves.

The Commission Compensation Changes item was listed on the Consent Agenda- meaning there's no discussion, just a quick vote.

But Commissioner Cyndy Andrus requested to take it off the Consent Items, and Mayor Sean Becker moved it to the last Action Item on the night's agenda, for another round of discussion.

The pay raise has proved controversial for commissioners. They themselves were divided during each discussion and their first vote- and so were citizens.

Many Bozeman residents commented on social media sites like Facebook about their opposition to the raises.

Under the proposal, Bozeman's mayor would increase from making $1,350 a month by $450. Commissioners would make $300 more a month than the current $900.

Commissioner Andrus and Deputy Mayor Jeff Krauss did not like the idea of upping commissioner salaries. Krauss previously told us he thought it would lead to more corruption.

But the other commissioners, like Mayor Becker, said serving on the commission demands a lot of time and energy- and they felt the pay deterred the average citizen from being able to run.

Late Monday night, when commissioners once again opened their discussion, each commissioner stuck to their previous sentiment.

Andrus said her request to move it back to an Action Item wasn't because she had a change of heart and wanted to re-discuss the matter, but because she wanted to vote "yes" for all the other Consent Items except that one.

Discussion was much more brief this time around.

Taylor did say a few words about his support, and mentioned that the raise amount can always be lowered in the future if a future commission think it is too much.

He felt, though that the raise would allow for more of a broad spectrum of the community to run for the commission while not being so high that it's the only motivating factor to run.

In the end, the Commission's made a final 3-2 vote to increase the salaries, with Andrus and Krauss voting against the compensation changes.

Under the changes, the mayor will make $1,800 a month, and commissioners $1,200 a month. The raises won't take effect for two years.