Garden Grove

Pay raise coming for council?

SHOULD GARDEN GROVE City Councilmembers be paid more? They’ll decide officially on Jan. 25 (Shutterstock).

By Jim Tortolano

Many elected officials are reluctant to vote themselves a raise because of the possible public reaction.

But taking a look at how their compensation compares with other city councils around Orange County, the Garden Grove City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday night to place the matter on the agenda for its Jan. 25 meeting.

The vote was 6-0 with Councilmember John O’Neill (District 2) absent. The council will take action in two weeks on the proposal by Councilmember Kim Nguyen (District 6) to raise council salaries from the present level of $486 monthly – among the lowest in Orange County – to the maximum allowed level of $1,312.34. The mayor would get an additional $200 a month.

According to city officials, the base monthly pay for councilmembers has not been raised since the mid-Seventies. Such an increase – if approved – would not take effect until December 2022.

“I don’t think any of us are in this for the money,” said Mayor Pro Tem Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen, as she – and other council members – cited “out-of-pocket” costs associated with serving on the council.

Councilmember Kim Nguyen argued that a higher pay rate might “incentivize” people to seek public office. “I don’t think this is unreasonable.”

Also on Tuesday night, the council voted 5-1 in favor of the first reading and introduction of an ordinance implementing Senate Bill 9, which allowed lots in single family zones to be split in two.

Councilmember Phat Bui echoed the complaints of some speakers at the public hearing who felt there was haste in approving the ordinance. Some expressed the opinion that the change – required by state law – made it too difficult to develop.

“This is not right,” said Bui. “This is not fair.” He cast the sole dissenting vote.

Other councilmembers argued that the new rules were being imposed by the state legislature and nothing was to be gained by delaying action on the matter.


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