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Ballwin approves elected officials’ pay increase

By: Jim Erickson

If any of Ballwin’s elected officials were worried about how citizens would react to a proposal to increase their salaries, public comments at the Board of Aldermen’s Jan 28 meeting and other responses likely erased those concerns.

Those addressing the issue during the public comment period supported the increase and even suggested the pay city officials receive should be higher than what was proposed. 

Under the proposal, the mayor’s monthly compensation will be raised to $900 from the current $700. Aldermen will receive $450 monthly instead of $350.

But the issue is a bit more complicated. 

The new salary schedule won’t go into effect until after results of the April 2 municipal voting are certified and the winning candidates are sworn into office. Even then, the increase will apply only to the mayor and four aldermen elected.

The higher pay for the other four aldermen won’t apply until after the April 2020 election when those positions will be on the ballot.

The delays are in line with a requirement that elected officials not be able to vote on a pay raise for themselves.

In addition to comments at the meeting, Alderman Mike Finley [Ward 1] said he had received eight emails, six of which endorsed the pay increase. 

Finley had taken the lead in publicizing the issue after it was discussed at an earlier aldermanic meeting and he thanked West Newsmagazine for running his letter to the editor and a news report, both of which explained the issue and the rationale behind the increase.

The current compensation for the mayor and aldermen has been in place for nearly 28 years. The seats of Mayor Tim Pogue and aldermen Jim Terbrock [Ward 1], Mark Stallmann [Ward 2], Jim Leahy [Ward 3] and Ross Bullington [Ward 4] are up for election April 2.

With Terbrock not seeking re-election after having served for 14 years, his seat is being sought by Mike Utt, Carleen Kramer and Jeff Farmer. 

Pogue, Stallman and Leahy are running unopposed but Bullington is being challenged by Richard Boerner. 

In the 6-2 vote on the ordinance authorizing the pay increase, Bullington and Alderman Kevin Roach [Ward 2] opposed it. Neither was immediately available to comment on their position.

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