The mayor of Overland Park is receiving a big raise.
By JENNIFER BHARGAVA
Special to The Star
And city council members agree it’s well-deserved.
At its meeting Monday evening, the council unanimously approved raising the mayor’s salary from $24,000 a year to $32,000.
The council also approved paying council members who chair a committee more than other council members. Committee chairs will have the same salary as the council president, $14,400.
Council members got a boost from $12,000 to $12,800.
Councilman Terry Goodman said the raises were well overdue because changes hadn’t been made to the salaries for more than a decade.
The mayor’s raise was absolutely necessary, Goodman said.
As Overland Park has grown physically and economically in the past 10 years, the role of the mayor has become more time-consuming and complex, he said.
Mayor Carl Gerlach told the council he was uncomfortable with the substantial raise, but council members pointed out that the raise was for the position, not for Gerlach himself.
“The mayor’s position could easily be justified as a full-time position,” said Councilman David White. “You have to sacrifice a lot, unfortunately, in your civilian job. You have to give up promotions and such so you can dedicate your time to serving the community.”
Councilman Dan Stock added that he hoped whoever succeeded Gerlach in the future would put just as much time and commitment into the role as Gerlach does.
Gerlach agreed the rest of the council should be fairly compensated, particularly the committee chairs. After all, he pointed out, the hours and gas mileage those council members endure is immense.
Council members Goodman, Fred Spears, Terry Happer Scheier, and Dave Janson are currently the four standing committee chairs.
In addition to the raises, the council agreed to review salary changes for the mayor and council every four years.