Dallas City Council Sure Seems Eager to Give Itself a Raise

Categories: City Hall

ACGonzlesCouncil.jpg
God bless Lee Kleinman. While his colleagues on the Dallas City Council were busy this afternoon working themselves into an oratorical lather -- this time over council pay raises -- he staked his position with a single sentence.

"As a fiscal conservative, I can't support any sort of raise at this time."

Kleinman's going to lose this fight. A solid majority of his colleagues expressed support for either the $60,000 pay rate proposed by the Dallas Charter Review Commission (a $22,500 raise) or for increasing pay to an even $100,000, and that's probably for the best. Council members -- the good ones, anyway -- are severely underpaid for the hours they put in and the importance of the work they do.

That said, there's an unseemly, pigs-at-the-trough element when council member after council member explains his or her support for a pay raise by monologuing about their own tireless work on behalf of constituents. Tennell Atkins has put 122,000 miles on his car during his seven years. Rick Callahan, a commercial real estate broker, has seen his business income drop as more and more time has been consumed by council duties. Jerry Allen recounted the "countless hours of Google searching" he endured "just to get up to speed" on the 13,000 agenda items he's voted on during his tenure.

Only Vonciel Jones Hill downplayed the demands of the position. "My job is policy maker, and that is not a full time job."

It was Philip Kingston who cut through some of the onanism to give the push for pay raises a philosophical gloss. There are, Kingston said, four types of people who serve on the council: the independently wealthy; those who have a job flexible enough to allow them to devote time to the council; those who are supported by their spouse or partner; and those who can live on $37,500 per year. (He left off the "childless weirdos" this time.)

"That leaves out a big, big portion of our electorate," Kingston said. He said he's tried to recruit many passionate, qualified people to run for City Council but has consistently been rebuffed on the grounds that the financial sacrifice would be too great. City Hall is losing out on a lot of talent and a lot of valuable perspective.

Kingston, as he has in the past, floated the $100,000 figure, which would make it feasible for others, namely parents with young children, to hold office. "This city will fail if it does not serve the needs of working parents."

Kingston's proposal was as DOA as Kleinman's. The $60,000 salary is what will likely be approved by the council and put before voters, and it will probably a tough sell -- even if council members can manage to keep their mouths shut.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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81 comments
noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

Dallas City Council people neither need nor deserve a pay raise.  "Council pay" was created specifically to cover only their expenses, and was not considered a "salary".  Why????

Because Dallas has a Council-Manager form of government, also called a "weak mayor form of government".  The city is run and managed by professional managers hired by the council,  City council people are more like a board of directors.

The ONLY comparable salaries that should be considered are those in cities our size that have exactly the identical form of government. Any other system's salary structure isn't applicable.

By our city charter, our mayor has no more power than any other council member, and is considered just another councilman - with a few exceptions of certain appointments, ceremonial duties, and working to set the agenda for council meetings.

The size of the raises being proposed are not only ridiculous, but give council people the misimpression that they are managing the city -- which they are not and should not. (Nobody is suggesting some of our council people don't work hard.  But, their districts are managed by the city manager's office; not the council person.)

Dallas has long been warned about ward politics creeping into our system, and we have never been closer than now.  A small raise in the council's stipend might be in order, but NOTHING with more than three zeroes.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Pay by the hour, punch a clock, fines for late or non existent attendance, and at 60k, no moonlighting. Just as important, give them a fairly paid staff.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

We needa get some whiteys up in blacktown to vote these Obama voters out of office!

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Looks to me like they're all getting sufficient nutrition.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Joining the Council is not the same as taking a lifetime vow of poverty and becoming a monk.  You serve for 2 years.  Councilmen Griggs and Kingston have shown it is no big deal to hit ground running in the job.  You do not need to be there for years to contribute.  I'll omit the names of mediocrities there for years that have done nothing.  We do not need people for 8 years.  Serve a term or two and leave. 


Any mediocrity can take a part time job and convince himself he is working too hard.  If mileage is too high on your car, take the bus.  We are a city after all.  If Mayor Bloomberg, a multibillionaire, can use the subway, our people can use transit.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Just another sign that 14-1 has brought us all the pitfalls of ward politics with none of the benefits.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

This at the same time there is a budget shortfall and Rawling is pushing for reduced police, fire, and court funding (see today's DMN). Are these people that stupid?

What are the salary numbers when the extortion and kickback numbers are added in?  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Yes.  Give them a raise.  But we voters need to take the next elections very seriously and get rid of the dead wood as well as the corrupt characters that currently sit on Council.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Think of a salary increase as merit-based.  You know, like our DISD teachers.

casiepierce
casiepierce

Oh cry me a fucking river!! Callahan is a commercial real estate broker. If his business has suffered because he's not there 100% of the time, then he's a VERY BAD manager, or more likely, a pain-in-the-ass micro-manager who at the very least, does not deserve to get a big paycheck from us. Many people have flexible jobs; it comes with the current economy. If you have a "spouse" (either a same-sex partner, or a husband  who can support you being a nosy housewife), you will get smeared for that during your campaign. So ya better be working somewhere respectable or.... be independently wealthy. Heavens no, we shouldn't elect people who have actual proven track-records as successes in life! WTF is wrong with these idiots?!??? City council is a volunteer position and if you aren't up for the task, then don't run, end of story.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@primi_timpano

Do you honestly believe that treating them like McDonalds employees will raise the quality of their work?  Or do you just want to punish people who choose to serve the public interest?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

First of all, they can't just get rid of officeholders; they can only bring in officeholders.

Second of all - the voters DO take the elections seriously.  I was just talking to a Republican election judge yesterday, and we were talking about the folks who show up to vote - how dutiful and patriotic they all seem to be, eager to participate in the process and very concerned with who is who and what issues are what.

Third - there is no "dead wood"... on the council.  If a council member comes off as such, it's because that's the nature of the district he or she represents.  So they're simply doing what they're supposed to do - accurately representing the folks who put them in office.

ewshep
ewshep

@casiepierce  My question, trivial as it may seem to some, is why are people who can't make a point without spewing "F' bombs allowed to post here. I find it very offensive and shows a total lack of class and character. I know, you don't care. People like you never do.

JustAsking
JustAsking

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz It looks like someone is trying to hold her up.  I would like to see her expense account for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks/midnight-snack/car snacks.


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

That goes without saying, but keep in mind that the present office holders were voted in.

IOW, you have to elect before you know who you've elected.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@bvckvs @Myrna.Minkoff-KatzBullshit. Less than 8% in municipal elections. And yes, there is "dead wood" on the council when the people who make the most important decisions for our city are voted into office by a mere 30,000 voters.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@bvckvs  By "getting rid of", I mean vote them out of office.  I'm skeptical about voters' judgment because of the poor performance we've gotten from Council, who were voted into office.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@ewshep @casiepierceI do it to get in with the cool kids (see all the defenders below...) And to annoy "people like" you. And because the mods don't give a S*H*I*T.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ewshep

why are people who can't make a point without spewing "F' bombs allowed to post here. I find it very offensive...

Perhaps the blog needs a "trigger warning" for those offended by profanity, because the blog, and the parent alt-weekly, use profanity often.

In the future, I would implore authors and commentors to preface comments, articles, headlines or posts that contain profanity to employ an asterisk rating system based on the severity of the offensive wordage. Perhaps Carlin's Guide could be a basis.

For instance:

* This is a damn fine idea

** This is one shitty idea

*** This is a fuckin-a righteous idea

************* this is a xxxxxxxx Idea (moderators would never let that one through, but you get the idea)

The trigger warnings could be extended to cover more than profanity, because people can be stressed by any number of things - hate speech, Koch Brothers, goat-bones, oil - so really, the DO needs to hire a speech committee to oversee the entire fucking thing.

Kind of like college, which prepares students for the trigger and stress free tailored-to-them world that awaits.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-trigger-warnings-20140520-column.html

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ewshep @casiepierce  if you cant find the point in the comment, then you have a reading and comprehension problem.  If the fuck word makes you blush, get out into the real world more often.  If you discount what people say because they cuss, well then you miss a lot of important information and probably shouldnt come to Unfair Park and read the comments.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@casiepierce @bvckvs@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

Perhaps, if people like you who know so much better how things should work would run, then the other 92% would rally around you inspired by your awesomeness.  LOL

But alas, you do as they do - stand idly by, without the courage or conviction to stand up and try.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @bvckvs

You can't vote anyone OUT of office.  That's not how elections work in this country.  All you can do is vote people INTO office.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  was it the "fucking" in  fucking idiot that offended you?  seems that more and more people are feigning outrage at curse words being used here

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

Jeez, I think you even called me an idiot couple weeks ago for something. I was horribly offended I think LOL

What's on third.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@What Mr what, show me where I suck up to him?  Id like to see where that happens.  Do I occasionally agree with him, sure, but I dont like everything he says or does.  Anyhow, you said you have been around a while, what name did you used to log in as?

What
What

@ScottsMerkin You mean like ruddiski who you have your lips surgically attached to.  Come on dude.  Think for yourself. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@What @ewshep  oh ,we need another commenter who adds nothing of value to the topic, and bags on the commenter, their language and grammar?  nah Ill pass

What
What

@ewshep Welcome to the blog.  I like your style.  You are needed here.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@eswhi

Academic

You know, cursing is one thing, but accusations like this are simply beyond the pale, or pai.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ewship

Swearing is like tattoos, modern "civility" isn't defined by those standards much anymore.

ewshep
ewshep

@TheRuddSki  Yeah, college prepares them for failure. Let me guess, you're an "Academic." 

ewshep
ewshep

@TheRuddSki  Or, people could just act like they have a tiny bit of class and civility. I know it is "edgy" to be disgusting. This is what we get from public education.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@What I have my own opinion, I just gave one on both of them, and neither of them will like it.  Ruddski is far from my leader, Ive been here way too long for that mess.  I just find it funny that marine boy cannot figure out someones point if they have cussed.

What
What

@ScottsMerkin Smerkin.  Here is your chance to have your own opinion and not be a ruddiski cool aid drinker.   This guy is trying to clean  up the blog.  You really don't have to follow your Floridian leader into hell. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@What they'd prolly give him lots of shit, but on the other hand, they would also call ewshep and pussy for his view on cuss words.  anyhow, to each his own

What
What

@ewshep Yes, these dudettes do OWN this blog by (as you can see) slandering from the bully pulpit.  They love to bash any and all women that dare to make a comment here.  There are NO moderators.  And they are not juvenilles, they are mostly in the mid to late 80's.  One claims to have several children in the military but they are constantly changing.

What
What

@TheRuddSki Morning.  Now why would we believe you and your Marine bullshit over what he claims?  He uses the word vile and that makes him a pansy ass.  What would they do to a marine who called an old woman a "cunt" because she was old? 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ewshep @ScottsMerkinso you come in here and the first thing you say is I dont know you, yet you throw out all this garbage at me like you know me.  As for being a liberal puke, im far from a liberal.  As for you being a marine, Ive met many, and non of them act like you from the little you've interacted here

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

are you, you said ass, but if its not, well then you are being an asshole

ewshep
ewshep

@ScottsMerkin @ewshep  And you are too stupid to know a cuss word when you hear it. Jackass is not a cuss word. Are you even out of junior high yet?

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Modern literature is replete with foul language, same with common conversation. Things get just as messed up when one uses onanism (which strangely iPhone does not recognize) rather than the widely understood word masturbation.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Fake Marines use the word "vile". A real Marine would have that sort of language beaten right the fuck out of his pansy ass during the first week of Recruit Training.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ewshep @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  well look at this guy, riding in on his high horse.  Welcome to our little space on the internet!  I hope you enjoy your time here, but if you dont like what is said here, or how people communicate with each other here, you are welcome to ride your high horse right back out the way you came in.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@ewshep @ScottsMerkin  well according to your own comment, you too are a vile thing (you called me a cussword), cussing for attention, Apparently, your mommy sheltered you too much.  As to your attention seekers comment.  Letting us all know you were a marine seems rather attention seeking

ewshep
ewshep

@ScottsMerkin  You don't know me jackass. Cussing doesn't make me blush. I've been a trucker and Marine. I stand by my comments that this type of language describes your character. You're a vile thing as well. Cussing is used for attention. Sorry mommy never held you more. And, yes, I do discount attention seekers as having nothing relevant to say. 

What
What

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @ewshep NOT What!  I found it slanderous and disgusting.  And it came from a man(?) and not one man on this blog, many of claim some level of Christianity could muster a little civility.   And the reason she was called a "cunt"   Because she is "old" and "has cats"   Am I right Ruddiski?  Is he here? Or still in morning therapy?

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