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Newport Continues Council/Mayor Compensation Discussion

The Newport City Council discussed having the city manager and attorney create a resolution to establish a work group to review possible stipends for elected officials. Newport City Manager Spencer Nebel reported there are a variety of practices in Oregon on elected municipal officials’ compensation during their tenure on the City Council. For Newport-sized cities, a majority of cities do not provide compensation. When compensation is provided, it is usually a stipend or a monthly salary for elected Councilors and Mayor.

During the previous meetings, Council has discussed this issue in some depth. Comments range from the value as a volunteer as an elected official, to the impact on representation when service on the Council can only be done on a voluntary basis. Rex Capri spoke to the council in opposition of council and mayoral compensation. He said "I don't think this should be a paid career path to serve your community." He also pointed out that the city is in need of utilizing its money on essential things like street improvements, rather than to elected officials.

Nebel pointed out the main reason for wanting some compensation or a stipend for volunteers in this basis is to include the segment of the population that may be excluded from considering running for City Council due to financial limitation when time off needs to be taken from work to attend City functions. It was pointed out that council service includes more than just attending the council meetings there is also community and public involvement required beyond the evening meetings.

Prior to proceeding each councilor and the Mayor declared a potential conflict of interest as they could gain financially if this issue is brought to and approved by voters. It was suggested that the work group would consist of formerly elected mayors and city councilors. councilor Hall asked that those involved with the city budget process also be involved on the work group. Councilor Parker made a motion to have the city manager and attorney put together a resolution forming an 11 member work group with 4 being former Mayors and/or former council members. The work group would pursue this discussion and provide a recommendation on possibly sending this to voters.

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