MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis City Council members and the new mayor are ringing in the new year with a bang.
In the middle of the holidays at the end of the year, council members played “secret Santa,” awarding themselves a pay hike just before Christmas.
It was kept a secret from the public until they voted.
The council, including five departing members, voted to raise their own pay by $10,000: from $88,696 to $98,696.
And the mayor’s pay goes up from $116,528 to $126,528.
The new Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, will now make slightly more than the new mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter, who now makes $126,000 annually.
And Minneapolis council members get significantly more than their part-time counterparts in St. Paul, who each earn $63,000 a year.
There may be good reasons for the pay hike, but city residents did not get to hear any of them.
The pay hike was not revealed in advance on any city council agenda. There were no committee hearings and no public comment.
But city council members apparently knew all about it: they voted unanimously in favor.
Minneapolis now pays its city council more than larger cities like Atlanta ($60,300), Milwaukee ($77,410), San Jose ($84,350) and Detroit ($78,761).
It is comparable to Boston ($99,500), and Denver ($94,915) — but less than Seattle ($123,359) and Portland ($110,802).
The $10,000 backroom pay hike is the largest since at least 2002.
It was not included in the recently-passed Minneapolis city budget, and the $140,000 it will cost will be carved out of budgets from other city departments.
In addition to the pay hikes this year, the council voted to give annual raises for the next four years.
Here are some of the sources used for this Reality Check: