Aug 1, 2023 - News

Des Moines' costs during councilperson's 5-month absence tops $18K

A photo of Indira Sheumaker.

Indira Sheumaker (left) was sworn in as a City Council member on Jan. 10, 2022 during a ceremony that included her "Oath to the People," that she repeated with her sister, Paden Sheumaker (right). Screenshot: Courtesy of the city of Des Moines

DSM Councilperson Indira Sheumaker has cost the city more than $18,000 in pay and benefits since her extended absence that began on March 6, according to city records obtained by Axios.

  • The calculations are based on an Aug. 7 return — the next scheduled council meeting.

By the numbers: Councilmembers, who are paid $1,110 biweekly, have received a total of around $12,200 each since the time her absences started. This includes Sheumaker.

  • Benefits costs directly related to Sheumaker have amounted to around $6,000.

Zoom in: They include:

  • A $75 weekly stipend to cover expenses like mileage (a total of $1,650).
  • The city's portion for her health care at $563 a month ($2,815).
  • DSM's contribution to Sheumaker's IPERS retirement account is $105 biweekly ($1,155).
  • Dental care at $37 a month ($185).

Of note: Sheumaker has not responded to Axios' requests for comment.

What's next: A policy that could tie DSM councilperson attendance to pay is being developed.

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