Aspen officeholders deserve higher pay
Rick Carroll’s story on compensation for City Council members reveals how little the town’s public servants are actually paid (“The fine line between civic service and compensation,” Feb. 28, Aspen Times Weekly). They deserve more.
I speak from experience, as a former town trustee in Carbondale — where the issues are less complex, the weekly packets hundreds of pages shorter (yet still 80 to 600 pages long) and the annual budget about one-eighth the size of Aspen’s. During my 4-year term, I found that the job consumed about two full days of my attention every week. I imagine Aspen’s council members spend entire weeks devoted to Aspen’s municipal matters and general affairs.
Week in and week out, all of Aspen’s city council members and mayor put their hearts and souls into the work and thought that is required to come to what they believe are the best decisions for Aspen. You may not agree with them some of time, but please know they are putting a lot of thought into matters that affect everyone.
If the $20,400 that Council has been paid since 2001 were tied to inflation, they should be getting $29,650 now, and the mayor should be paid $39,820. But really, in addition to being charged with making decisions and policies for the entire community, City Council manages a $108,000,000 budget and oversees a staff of hundreds.
The outgoing City Council should consider giving the next council a real raise to reflect the demands of the job.