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Sioux Falls voters may decide Mayor, City Council compensation in April 2022

Sioux Falls City Councillor hopes increasing compensation for Mayor, Council will attract more candidates
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 2:48 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Sioux Falls City Councilor Marshall Selberg hopes to attract more people to public service in the future, as Mayor or on the Council.

“We want the best and the brightest in this job, and quite frankly, compensation as a part of that conversation,” said Selberg.

Selberg, along with Councilor Greg Neitzert are proposing a raise for the Mayor’s position to bring it in line with other pay scales.

“Since the Mayoral form of government was adopted back in 1994, the salary for the Mayor has not been reviewed and adjusted beyond inflationary increases. The Mayor leads an organization of 1,300 employees with a $650 million dollar annual budget. We are now at a point that the salary of the Mayor is less than a dozen of the directors who report to the Mayor. It is the right time to ask the voters to decide if the salary of the Mayor should be adjusted,” said Neitzert.

“Basically every department head that is hired by and answers to the mayor is compensated more than that position, and in some cases substantially more,” said Selberg.

While the position of Mayor pays $130,000, the department heads’ top-paying positions range from just over $150,000 to as much as $198,000 per year.

The council approved the first reading seven to zero. If it passes the second reading on December 21st. This change in the city’s charter will be up to voters.

Mayor Paul TenHaken is responding with his thoughts in a statement, saying:

“While I appreciate this gesture that recognizes the size and scope of this role, one doesn’t enter public service for the paycheck. This is a Council-driven proposal that ultimately if passed next week, would be decided by the voters in the upcoming April election,” said Mayor TenHaken.

Selberg says the Mayor’s position and city council positions are connected in the charter.

“Council-wise, you know, it can be a full-time job easily with what we do,” said Selberg.

And he believes if there was more pay for future councilors, there could be more wanting the job. The hope is to increase their pay from just under 20 thousand to 29 thousand per year.

“I know a couple of us ran for reelection in the last city election in ran unopposed and quite frankly, that’s a little disappointing,” said Selberg.

“If the last 18 months has taught us anything we need that the best and the brightest sitting at the chair of the table upfront and leading us over the next years to come. And I think again, this is a big part of that conversation. So hopefully they’ll take a look at it and I guess we’ll know in April what they decide.”

Most councilors have outside jobs and work at least 30 hours a week for the city. Doing the math at the current pay, a city councilor currently makes $12.57 per hour.

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