Does Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Deserve a Raise? City Council Will Decide

November 17, 2019, 4:47 PM by  Alan Stamm

Mike Duggan, who earns $174,930 a year, could get $14,369 in raises by mid-2020 if Detroit City Council members approve proposed boosts for the mayor, the city clerk and themselves.

Yes, council members decide on their own pay. 

The Detroit News has a rundown:

Detroit's City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on the proposal that calls for an immediate 3% increase in salary for the city's elected officials. Subsequently, Duggan, [Clerk Janice] Winfrey and the council would get an additional 2.5% increase March 1, 2020, and 2.5% more on July 1, 2020, according to a resolution by the city's compensation board.

If approved, this will mark the third series of increases granted for the city's elected leaders since Detroit's bankruptcy exit in December 2014. . . . The council must support the proposal by a two-thirds vote.

"The mayor's salary is very fair," Mike Duggan said in late 2012 when preparing to run.
(Photo: WDIV video)

Duggan's pay would hit $189,299 next July and Council President Brenda Jones would reach $94,000, up from $86,967 now. 

The other eight council members and Winfrey would wind up at $89,545, a three-stage increase totaling $6,796 in yearly pay. 

Duggan currently earns less than 13 big city mayors listed below and is paid more than 15 other counterparts shown -- including those in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Seattle. 

In the city clerk's view, her proposed new salary level would be about $22,000 below what she deserves.

Winfrey, in an Oct. 24 letter to the [Elected Officials Compensation] Commission, argued for a $30,000 pay bump that would have made her annual salary $112,000.

The council passed the last raises for the mayor, clerk and themselves -- a pair of 2.5% adjustments -- at the start of 2018. They kicked in six months later.

Before switching from Detroit Medical Center chief executive to political candidate in fall 2012, Duggan was paid $497,250 a year by Vanguard Health Systems, plus bonuses of $603,842 and stock options worth an estimated $1.3 million if he stayed until this year. He took a 70-percent pay salary cut in the last quarter of 2012 while preparing for his mayoral run and went off the hospital payroll at the end of that year, Crain's Detroit Business reported.

"I've managed my money appropriately. The mayor's salary is very fair and I expect we'd be able to live on it," Duggan told Bill Shea of Crain's. Mayor Dave Bing earned $158,558 at the time.

For comparison, here are mayors' base salaries in 29 U.S. cities with at least a half-million people (2019 population estimates shown):

San Francisco: $309,977 (888,700) 

► New York: $258,750 (8.6 million)

► Los Angeles: $248,141 (4 million)

► Houston: $236,189 (2.3 million)

Philadelphia: $218,474 (1.6 million)

Chicago: $216,000 (2.7 million)

► Seattle: $200,552 (746,046)

Washington, D.C.: $200,000 (702,756)

Orlando, Fla.: $190,655 (297,200)

Columbus, Ohio: $181,738 (880,182)

Jacksonville, Fla.: $180,332 (907,500)

► Baltimore: $178,294 (601,188)

► Boston: $175,000 (687,600)

Detroit: $174,930 (673,100)

Denver: $171,197 (719,100)

Memphis: $170,817 (649,200)

► Miami: $150,000 (491,700)

► Milwaukee: $147,336 (582,000)

► Atlanta: $147,000 (501,200)

► Seattle: $145,088 (766,900)

► Portland: $143,666 (667,600)

► San Jose: $133,331 (1 million)

► Louisville: $124,113 (620,800)

► Kansas City: $123,228 (501,100)

San Diego: $100,464 (1.5 million)

Phoenix: $88,359 (1.7 million)

Austin: $82,500 (1 milion)

San Antonio: $61,725 (1.6 million)

Dallas: 60,000 (1.4 million)

Salary sources: Money Talks News, March 27, 2018; The Business Journals, Oct. 9, 2018

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