How Much Money Should Denver's Elected Officials Make?

March 2011

Do the members of Denver's city council, who earn more than $78,100 a year, deserve a 6.6 percent raise (to more than $83,300)? Before you answer, consider the state's unemployment rate is at its highest in a generation, about 13,000 Coloradans will soon run out of unemployment benefits, and of those with jobs just 36 percent of middle-income families believe they are earning enough to save for a secure retirement. That could be why four of the six "leading candidates" for mayor are criticizing council members for padding each others' wallets (Denver Post).

But Doug Linkhart and Michael Hancock, two councilmen running for mayor, voted in favor of the raises (the vote was 10-3), which take effect in 2014. The mayor's salary would grow to $155,211—"minuscule," Hancock says. Mayoral candidate Carol Boigon, a council member who voted against the increase, notes the city is in the process of dealing with a $100 million budget deficit. Meanwhile, the Post alleges Michele Fry, running for the District 5 council seat, has plagiarized answers on a candidate questionnaire.