Mar 20, 2024 - News

Denver City Council considers changing how elected officials get raises

Illustration of a bill made up of different bill denominations. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Denver City Council Member Amanda Sawyer is proposing a measure for the November ballot changing how the city's mayor, auditor, clerk and recorder, and council members get pay increases.

Why it matters: Sawyer says the move is meant to build more trust between the city's government and its residents.

How it works: The proposal removes a requirement for city council members to vote for their raises every four years, something Sawyer told her colleagues during a meeting on Tuesday is meant to provide more transparency.

Behind the scenes: The city council as a whole has never voted against a pay raise, spokesperson Robert Austin tells us.

Context: Right now, council members vote for pay increases during election years (members approved a 9% pay bump in 2023.) The new proposal would allow the raises to take effect every four years without a vote from council members.

  • If approved, the changes would take effect in July 2027.

Caveat: The salary increases would still be tied to changes over a four-year period in the consumer price index or the average raises of employees in career services — whichever is less.

Between the lines: Raises for elected officials are written in the city charter, which requires a simple majority of voters to change.

By the numbers: A Denver City Council president currently makes $123,846, while council members make $110,596.

  • The mayor's salary is $205,991, the auditor's is $178,152 and the clerk and recorder's is $178,152.

What's next: The proposal will be considered by the full city council starting April 1.

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