Should Burlington City Council have last word on their compensation?
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Should Burlington city councilors be allowed to determine their own future pay without voter approval? That would happen under a charter change resolution before the council Monday.
The current law allows for a $5,000 stipend for city councilors each year and any changes to that would head to the voters to approve. The new proposed charter change would allow councilors to vote on benefits or compensation when they see fit and without allowing any voter approval.
Money for the councilors also comes out of the General Fund, which also pays for the police, fire, and parks, among other departments.
Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South, says she’s not against a change in councilor compensation but doesn’t believe the current language has enough clarity to go on the ballot. “I think we need better definition of at least a range or a process. This is a completely blank check and the voters would have no way to know what they’re getting after that or any recourse because we won’t be coming back to them,” she said.
Shannon also wishes the real obstacles to councilor compensation were investigated more in-depth during this process, including the time commitment required to be a city councilor.
The deadline for the council to weigh in on Town Meeting Day issues comes December 15th, giving them one more regular meeting to act.
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