Hayward City Council gives itself a raise

HAYWARD, Calif. — After going years without any pay increases, members of the Hayward City Council are set to receive a 65.1% raise for their service.

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Hayward City Council voted unanimously to raise the mayor’s annual salary from $41,958 to $69,288 and the councilmembers’ annual salaries from $26,224 to $43,305. The councilmembers emphasized that the salary increase is intended to enable individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds to serve on the council by removing compensation as a barrier.

“When the majority of Americans can’t afford a $600 emergency, and we live in a democracy that supposedly respects the majority, then we need a compensation structure that also honors that majority,” Councilmember George Syrop said. “It says right now that the only people that can represent our community are those that can afford to or are willing to suffer a great deal.”

The councilmembers’ handbook states that the compensation for the mayor and members of the council may increase to keep up with the annual rate of inflation, but by no more than 5%. However, the council waived all salary increases between 2004 and 2022 and took a 5% pay cut in 2009 because of the Great Recession, when the U.S. housing bubble burst and caused an economic downturn.

The ad hoc committee that reviewed the compensation increases, comprised of councilmembers Dan Goldstein and Syrop and Mayor Mark Salinas, reviewed three options. The first would have kept their compensation the same. The third option proposed raising the mayor’s salary to $52,782 and the councilmembers’ salaries to $32,989, aligning them with inflation rates since 2016.

The council ultimately chose the second option, which adjusted their salaries based on inflation rates since 2004.

“We’re not changing anything,” Goldstein said. “We’re just asking to put back into place the means and the methods that were already approved.”

Councilmember Angela Andrews said she would have been fine with Option 3 but also acknowledged that it was important for everyone to feel like they had the opportunity to serve on the council, which can be very time-consuming.

“We’re not just here Tuesdays making decisions on the dais,” Andrews said. “It’s committee on top of committee on top of committee.”

A couple members of the public, including 2nd District Alameda County Supervisor Elisa Márquez, called in during public comments to voice their support for the pay increase, also speaking to the need to fairly compensate both current and future members of the council.

These changes were part of a broader set of updates to the councilmembers’ handbook.

Sonia Waraich can be reached at 510-952-7455.

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