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Manteca council members make $6,720 a year
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Manteca’s elected council members “make” $560 a month for performing their duties.

That is in stark contrast to the City of Bell, the Southern California community of 40,000 where three of the five council members were pocketing in excess of $100,000 a year as elected officials.

Manteca City Clerk Joann Tilton said a lot of people had misconceptions of what council members earned from performing their duties before the Bell controversy. In light of the six-figure salaries - that included the city manager making almost $800,000 a year - there is even more who believe council members are full-time positions with full-time salaries.

A Manteca council member can make $6,720 a year. That reflects $500 a month stipend serving as a council member and $30 per redevelopment agency meeting.

“As a general law city, the amount a council can make is set by state statute based on a city’s population,” Tilton noted.

Charter cities such as Bell have more latitude.

Actually, the city council reduced their compensation by 3.8 percent to fall in line with municipal employees they asked to take a furlough days that ended up being the equivalent a 3.8 percent pay cut.

The mayor gets the same pay as council members.

Weatherford noted his take home pay after taxes is roughly $350 a month.

Since council members aren’t reimbursed for mileage for day-to-day city business they may conduct for out-of-pocket expenses, most council members typically spend the $350 on expenses related to serving as council member including buying tickets to numerous dinners and such.

If council members attend out-of-town conferences, they have the option of asking for mileage.

Council members also can access the same health benefits that municipal employees have. Weatherford doesn’t access the benefits as he already was entitled to them after working as a municipal employee.  He is Manteca’s retired police chief.

Tilton said there are other misconceptions besides pay. Some, for example, believe the council also governs local schools.

Also there is an assumption that the mayor has more authority than the other four council members. That is not the case. The mayor has one vote just as each council member has. The council can only act as a whole and not as individuals.

The mayor does run council meetings and makes appointments but only with the concurrence of the rest of the City Council. If they don’t agree with the mayor, then the appointment is rejected.

The mayor also is the ceremonial representative of the city, The mayor also provide the official signature to many official documents but only after the council has approved any actions outlined within the documents.