CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Mayor Danny Jones outlined his job duties in a speech to city council members Monday night in hopes of having them vote to raise annual salaries for mayor, council members and municipal court judge.
“I hope you’ll vote for the raise,” Jones encouraged them. “I think it’s right to attract and give the next person that raise. I think this job is worth it. If they don’t do their job, it’s because we’ve elected the wrong person.”
Jones played back his speech Tuesday morning on his talk show “580 Live” heard on MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS in Charleston.
Council passed three bills Monday night in connection with the pay raises. The salary for mayor would increase by $25,000 from $100,000 to $125,000 annually. A municipal court judge would earn $5,000 more from $35,000 to $40,000. City council members are paid per meeting. Their salary would increase from $200 per meeting to $250 per meeting. Each member would be paid no more than $7,000 per year.
The salaries would take affect in Jan. 2019, if passed. That is when Jones’ term is up. He said he’s not recommending the pay raise for himself and that it would be for the next mayor.
Jones said being mayor is not a part time job, at least in the Capital City of West Virginia.
“They don’t wear the job at night,” he said of other city mayors. “If they get a call like I get in the middle of the night, what they do is non consequential because it’s a city manager form of government. Here, we have both. We have both a city manager and a strong mayor. It’s unique to this city.”
Jones said it’s important for the next mayor to keep major retailers in the city in order to spur economic development.
“One of the things we need to do id to watch our big retail outlets and how much they matter to us,” he said. “As long as I’m here and for some time during my tenure here, Macy’s will be here,” following a round of applause.
The job has come with a lot of tough decisions, Jones said. In his speech, he referred to his decision in Jan. 2016 to dismantle the homeless community Tent City.
“Two days after we dismantled Tent City it was 2 degrees out there,” he said. “First thing, it was on private property. I didn’t call anybody here. I just did it because that’s what this mayor does and that’s what the next mayor does.”
Supporters of the pay raise say it’s well-deserved. Opponents say serving should never be about the money.