City leaders in Midlothian are considering a pay raise for themselves as an upcoming agenda item in the Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget. Before doing so, they offered a sampling of why they feel an increase in compensation is justified.
Currently, the compensation structure for Midlothian City Council members and the mayor consists of providing a stipend to each member per full council meeting. This includes scheduled and specially called meetings and workshops.
The mayor receiving $100 for each meeting attended, mayor pro tem receives $75 and each council member receives $50.
While the stipend is a fixed sum, the total amount expended each year varies depending on the number of meetings held and attended by each member. In Fiscal Year 2022-2023 (with two months remaining), stipends paid to council members and the mayor have totaled $21,025.
Being considered in the proposed budget for the new fiscal year is a restructure of the compensation program for city council and mayor that would provide a salary to each member. Mayor Justin Coffman would receive $1,000 per month, Mayor Pro Tem Clark Wickliffe $750 per month and each council member $500 per month.
The total amount in the FY 2023-24 proposed budget for council and mayor compensation is $51,000.
The last time the mayor and council received a pay raise was in 2014.
“It’s not a matter of whether or not the proposed compensation structure is deserved. A more generous compensation structure can be easily justified by the sheer number of hours spent by council members in service to the city,” former Mayor Richard Reno said.
“It also acknowledges that time spent on city business takes time away from council members’ jobs. All of Midlothian’s City Council members hold full-time jobs. Some are employed and others are sole-proprietors of their own companies.”
A random salary survey of municipalities showed a variety of payment schedules in other area cities. For example, in DeSoto the mayor makes $1,250 and council members $1,000 per month. In Mansfield the mayor and council members each make $1,000 monthly.
On the other hand, some mayors and council members work for little or no compensation. In Burleson, for example, it’s $5 each regular meeting attended, whereas several cities such as Cedar Hill, Duncanville and Red Oak offer no compensation to mayor and council.
An overview of the number of meetings attended and duties performed by the mayor and city council members over the first 10 months of the current fiscal year shows a total of 23 regular meetings (only once in November and December). In addition, there were 11 workshops.
Each council member is expected to study the meeting packet in preparation for meetings and workshops.
Also, each council member and the mayor is assigned as liaison to a city board or commission, most of which meet once a month. There are 11 city boards and commissions.
The mayor also attends many events as the official city council spokesperson. Likewise, council members attend many events to represent the city. This includes the 26 community events held by the city’s parks and recreation department, as well as events held by other community organizations.
The mayor is also the official head of the Emergency Operations Center in the event of a local disaster.
In the event that the mayor cannot perform a required duty, the mayor pro tem serves in his place.
Council members may attend various trainings voluntarily each year. Additionally, the mayor and council members frequently meet with and talk to individuals and groups seeking to collaborate with city council members on city projects and issues
Examples of city achievements in 2023 include (accomplishments in one year may have begun in earlier years):
*Broke ground for new library/city all facility and new public safety facility approved by voters in 2021.
*Received an award for city finance.
*Received EMS American Heart Association recognition.
*Received Commercial Vehicle Inspection award.
*Received award for new Summer Beats concert series.
*Earned Tree City USA designation.
*Conducted branding research project and adopted new city logo and tagline.
*Conducting comprehensive plan revision.
*Approved 10-year parks master plan.
*Began construction of new Lake Grove Trail.
*Presented 26 free community events.
*Expanding water treatment and storage capabilities from 24 million gallons per day to 36 million gallons per day.
*Installed lights at Midlothian Community Park soccer fields.
*Introduced Midlothian Safe emergency mass notification system.
*Conducted numerous Disaster Planning exercises
*Ranked 45th among the state’s 50 safest cities.
“Most council members run for office knowing there is little or no compensation. As former mayor, I know from personal experience that I could easily work for 40 hours a week on city business,” Reno said. “At the proposed $12,000 per year salary for mayor, that equals less than $6 per hour.
“This is a modest recognition of the commitment each council member makes. Midlothian is blessed to have qualified citizens who step forward and serve our community.”
Current city leaders, including their time in office, include:
- Mayor Coffman, elected in May 2023. Term expires in May 2026. First elected to council in 2018.
- Allen Moorman, council member, Place 1, elected June 2023. Term expires in May 2026.
- Mike Rodgers, council member, Place 2, elected May 2023. Term expires in May 2026. Previously served as council member from 2012-20.
- Anna Hammonds, council member, Place 3, elected June 2022. Term expires in May 2025.
- Clark Wickliffe, council member, Place 4, mayor pro tem. First elected May 2019. Re-elected in 2022. Term expires in May 2025.
- Ed Gardner, council member, Place 5, elected May 2023. Term expires May 2024.
- Hud Hartson, council member, Place 6, elected December 2020. Term expires May 2024.