The Independent Salary Commission responds to public feedback and finalizes an amended salary proposal
At their July 24 meeting, in response to public feedback, the Portland Independent Salary Commission (ISC) amended their proposal and arrived at a decision on final salaries for Portland’s elected officials. The new pay levels will take effect in January 2025, when a new slate of elected officials — mayor, auditor, and city council — begin their terms.
“The discussion of salaries is a personal topic that elicits strong feelings – and that’s why we are grateful for all the community feedback we’ve received that has helped us to arrive at a final decision,” said Salary Commission Co-Chair Rut Martinez-Alicea. “That feedback will also inform the next salary commission that will convene every two years after implementation. We celebrate this amended proposal and outcome as democracy in action, and we thank those Portlanders who let us know their thoughts."
THREE TOPICS WERE CONSIDERED AND DISCUSSED AS POTENTIAL AMENDMENTS
To address comments from Portlanders, the commissioners discussed these potential amendments and made the decisions noted below:
- Proposed Amendment: Consider adjusting the floor salary for council from $142,404 to account for benefits provided by the City of Portland.
Decision: The ISC adjusted the floor salary for future councilors to $133,207, taking into account medical benefits already provided by the City of Portland and removing that out-of-pocket cost from the annual salary.
- Proposed Amendment: Consider removing the COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) requirement and allow the next Salary Commission to consider cost of living increases
Decision: The ISC removed the mandatory cost-of-living increases in recognition that future salary commissions will review for cost-of-living and to remove the potential conflict of interest from future elected officials giving themselves pay increases.
- Proposed Amendment: Consider changing the language differential compensation proposal from 4% to a flat rate or a lower percentage.
Decision: The ISC removed the increased rate for the language differential and agreed that elected officials should make the same rate of pay as other City employees at this time.
THE FINAL DECISION ON SALARY FIGURES
The Salary Commission has identified the following pay rates for elected positions. Since March, the commissioners studied compensation best practices and guiding principles and criteria to determine the pay rates.
As visible in table 1, below, only the council salary rates are set at a public sector thriving wage with employee-paid premiums and cost-of-living adjustment. The mayor and auditor salaries relied heavily on market rates in cities of comparable size.
In addition, any elected official can choose to apply for the City of Portland’s Language Access Program and receive the differential pay amount if they qualify.
Read the final report for more information!