CORRECTION: Little Rock mayor deserves 'comparable pay' | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CORRECTION: Little Rock mayor deserves 'comparable pay'

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 6:21 AM

KNOWS IT WHEN HE SEES IT: Brad Cazort on comparability.
  • KNOWS IT WHEN HE SEES IT: Brad Cazort on comparability.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning indicates some differences of opinion on the Little Rock City Board on an ordinance to raise Mayor Mark Stodola's pay.

City Director Brad Cazort, is driving the train for more money for Stodola, who makes $160,000. Cazort seemed to indicate that an ordinance to lift Stodola to $179,208, the same as City Manager Bruce Moore, may still fall short of the weird state law that requires that mayoral pay be "comparable" with that of other municipal officials.

CORRECTION: Others at the meeting say I misread the Democrat-Gazette story. It should have been clear that Cazort was defending the raise to $179,208 because Stodola's existing $160,000 salary was not comparable, not that the higher figure was not comparable. So this post has been updated to reflect that, though I still have questions about the whole debate on a need for a raise.

I was confused by the continuing discussion of the fact that Airport Director Ron Mathieu ($197,600) and Sewer boss Reggie Corbitt ($185,099) make more, as Cazort has noted. It hasn't come up in discussions, but Stodola also is line for a $600-a-month car allowance, a $1 million life insurance policy, paid health insurance and a $20,000-a-year tax-free contribution to a retirement account.

What's comparable mean? He knows it when he sees it, Cazort says, and $160,000 isn't.

My questions from this morning remain:

1) Is it not correct that the mayor has no administrative duties other than chairing city board meetings and making the occasional appointment? Would comparability also include a consideration of the work done for the money, Bruce Moore being required to do a good bit more? The mayor's day-to-day responsibilities are of his own choosing.

2) Does anyone really think a taxpayer is going to file a lawsuit demanding that Mark Stodola be paid more? Or that a court would get into the hazy notion of defining comparability against a representative body's definition of the word for an official who himself must face voters periodically?

City Director Doris Wright is on the money. The state statute needs clarification. And home rule, not state law, should prevail on elected official pay. If the pay's too low for Stodola — or anyone else — nobody made them run.

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