The four-digit compensation to serve on Arlington City Council and as mayor doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
Council members make $2,400 per year and the mayor makes $3,000 per year. The Star-Telegram reported in February that the city ranks last among the 50 largest cities for compensation. Fort Worth is 46th, with salaries in the mid- and high $20,000 range for the posts.
The pay could prevent younger people supporting families or with less flexible jobs from serving, said Ruby Faye Woolridge, District 6 council member.
“I know that there are people who cannot take off from their jobs that would like to serve,” Woolridge said.
Any change to council and mayor pay would have to go before voters. Other council members, some of whom balance work with council duties, were not interested in bringing forward the issue.
Andrew Piel, District 4 council member, said he hesitated to run because he would have to take a pay cut in order to serve. However, Piel said he believes the work council and mayor accomplish is impressive to voters.
“I don’t think an increase in pay is going to impress voters,” Piel said.
Mayor Jim Ross said he knew he would dial back his work at his other businesses to serve. He said he ran against opponents representing a berth of age ranges.
“I don’t think paying city council members more money, the mayor more money, is probably going to do anything that’s going to encourage more people to run,” Ross said.
Arlngton’s pay scale for elected officials has been in place since 1980. Voters in 2005 soundly rejected a proposal to pay the mayor $1,500 per month and $1,000 per month to city council members..
Pay scales for elected officials varies around the region, according to a study conducted by Arlington city government employees. Dallas’ mayor received $80,000 a year and council members receive $60,000. On the lower end, Grand Prairie gives council members $5 per meeting attended and $1,200 to its mayor.
In response to a question from District 1 council member Helen Moise, Woolridge said she did not have a salary in mind but felt compelled to broach the issue after hearing from people who would otherwise seek office.