Government & Politics

With three weeks left in office, KC Council votes pay raise for incoming members, mayor

New and returning members of the Kansas City Council will make nearly 15 percent more than those leaving office at the end of the month, under an ordinance approved Thursday.

The measure, which passed 8-4, will raise members’ salaries to $70,718 from $61,569. It will increase compensation for new Mayor Quinton Lucas to $141,455 from $123,516. The raises will take effect when the new council and mayor take office Aug. 1.

The ordinance passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee without recommendation, meaning the panel didn’t encourage the council to pass it.

Outgoing Councilman Jermaine Reed, 3rd District, the ordinance’s sponsor said salaries for the mayor and council members haven’t changed in nearly a decade. He urged a yes vote, noting that while council jobs are technically part-time, they are demanding.

“I think all of us are intimately aware of how important it is to be knowledgeable of the issues that we face here on the City Council every single day,” Reed said, “but more importantly, being able to be compensated appropriately for the task and work that we put into a part-time job, which really is a demanding full-time responsibility.”

Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, 4th District at-large, who is returning for a second term and will receive the pay raise, echoed Reed’s comments.

“I am quite willing to stand here and say that as the council person from the 4th District at-large, that I do not have a part-time position,” Shields said. “I have a position that commands 40 hours-plus every week.”

She added that it was important to recognize the council’s role in city government.

Returning council members Shields, Dan Fowler, Teresa Loar and Lee Barnes, who will receive the raise, voted for it. Councilman Kevin McManus, who is returning for a second term, voted no. Departing council members Scott Wagner, Heather Hall and Scott Taylor voted against it while Reed, Jolie Justus, Alisia Canady and Mayor Sly James voted yes.

Mayor-elect Lucas, 3rd District at-large councilman, was absent for a family function.

Allison Kite reports on City Hall and local politics for The Star. She joined the paper in February 2018 and covered Midterm election races on both sides of the state line. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with minors in economics and public policy from the University of Kansas.