Stratford's next elected mayor will make $20,000 more than what its current mayor is earning now.
The Stratford Town Council Monday approved the pay raise by a 7-2 vote. The raise bumps the $90K salary up to $110K and comes with no increase over the next eight years.
So if Mayor John A. Harkins runs and wins a 2013 re-election campaign, he will in essence receive a 22 percent raise for his second term.
"If you break it down over eight years, it comes down to what would be a cost of living adjustment for each year," said Councilman David Fuller (D-6), calling $110,000 "reasonable" compensation.
"I'm comfortable with that amount," said Councilman Jason Santi (D-4). The last Council wanted to raise the salary to $130,000, he said.
While all Town Council members agreed that a salary adjustment was needed, some thought a $20,000 increase was too much.
Stephanie Philips (D-2) and Christian Barnaby (R-1) are the two Council members who voted against the raise.
Comparison with Other Towns
"I actually think $100,000 would be a more appropriate number for the mayor," Philips said. There are two towns with similar median household salaries that pay its mayors around $100,000, she said.
But one of those towns allows its mayor to seek a salary outside of his or her municipal duties, Philips noted. Stratford's mayor is not permitted to take such action.
Though Philips did not name the two towns, a report of chief executive salaries by Stratford’s town attorney shows that Danbury, which has a median household salary of $65,419, pays its mayor $104,015 a year; and Norwalk, which has a median household salary of $75,695, pays its mayor $100,000.
The median household salary in Stratford is $66,127, according to the report.
However, both Danbury and Norwalk have larger municipal budgets than Stratford. According to the report, Danbury's budget is about $209M and Norwalk's $280M, while Stratford's is $188M.
Editor's note: The following comment was provided by the office of Mayor Harkins: "The mayor is deferring the council on salary issue as it was their own bi-partisan initiative."
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