Mayor Willie Weatherford intends to step up and take another hit in his monthly compensation to match whatever employee groups end up taking in order to balance the municipal budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Weatherford and the rest of the council already imposed a 10 percent cut in their monthly stipend taking it from $500 a month for council duties down to $450. If employees have their compensation reduced by 10 percent, the mayor says he’ll match it by giving up another $45.
“It’s not a lot but it is important that everyone understands we are in this together,” Weatherford said. “We will get through this.”
Manteca is trying to bridge a projected $4.2 million shortfall in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year by cutting expenses by that amount by July 1.
It has already resulted in 16 employees being informed they will be out of a job July 1 including six firefighters. That will cover about 40 percent of the gap. The remaining will need to come from employee compensation concessions. City Manager Steve Pinkerton expects it to come in at about 10 percent if things work out as hoped. That would be on top of an average of 10 percent in compensation cutbacks most municipal employees have already taken in previous years to allow the city to match spending with available revenue.
The mayor noted that he can’t impose a 10 percent cutback on other council members.
“It is up to them to decide what they want to do,” Weatherford said.
Weatherford, like most council members, uses his stipend to offset costs related to serving in office including mileage. The City Council more than 15 years ago dropped individual mileage reimbursement for council members and limited non-stipend reimbursement to trips related to official city business as approved by the City Council. Even though such a policy is in place, council, members rarely access it.
As a general law city, compensation of elected officials are governed by state law that sets a maximum council members can be paid with a sliding scale based on population.
Charter cities such as Stockton have the power to pay elected members beyond what the state law stipulates for general law cities.