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St. Louis Board of Aldermen votes for pay increase, bill heads to mayor's desk

The bill calls for doubling the pay for city aldermen from $37,400 to $72,000 per year.
Credit: City of St. Louis Youtube page

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday passed a bill to nearly double pay for the next group of aldermen. The bill now goes go to the desk of Mayor Tishaura Jones.

Board Bill No. 119 was passed 15-8 at its third reading at the board's regular meeting, with one abstaining vote. It calls for doubling the pay for the part-time city alderman job from $37,400 to $72,000 per year.

The bill also gives an $800 increase in each alderman's expense allowance, bringing them up to $5,000 per member. The bill includes language that aldermen must devote themselves to their roles an average of 32 hours per week.

Proponents say pay increase won't cost the city any more money upon going into effect for the next group of aldermen elected in April. That's when a new redistricting map goes into effect, cutting the number of city ward seats from 28 to 14 and subsequently halving the number of aldermen who need to be paid.

Board of Aldermen President Megan Green, who supports the bill, said that board members have been underpaid for years, lagging behind other cities of similar size.

"Aldermen are going to be doing twice the jobs that they did before and so increasing the salaries, perhaps making it full-time, I think are common sense strategies," Green told 5 On Your Side in November.

"It's never been a part-time job for me," said Ward 1 Alderwoman Sharon Tyus. "...People act like $75,000 is like this exorbitant amount of money. It is not an exorbitant amount. And if we had been getting our raises as it was originally thought of, we would have been there and past by now."

Ward 12 Alderman Bill Stephens, who is not seeking reelection, said that while he wishes the bill's language would have also disallowed outside employment along with the raise, he was not opposing the bill "because I believe that public office should not be a detriment to one's ability to pay their bills."

Among those against the bill was Ward 23 Alderman Joe Vaccaro, who at the Friday board meeting called it "flat wrong" and a "huge misjustice to all the workers in the city" who make less money.

Here’s a breakdown of how aldermen voted on the bill:

  • Yes: Megan Green, Sharon Tyus, Brandon Bosley, Dwinderlin Evans, James Page, Christine Ingrassia, Jack Coatar, Annie Rice, Bill Stephens, Carol Howard, Cara Spencer, Laura Keys, Shameem Clark Hubbard, Michael Gras, Norma Walker 
  • No: Dan Guenther, James Lappe, Bret Narayan, Tom Oldenburg, Anne Schweitzer, Jesse Todd, Sharon Tyus, Joseph Vaccaro, Joseph Vollmer, 
  • Abstain: Shane Cohn
  • Absent: Lisa Middlebrook, Tina Pihl, Marlene Davis, Pam Boyd

The St. Louis Police Officers' Association Fraternal Order of Police - Lodge 68 issued a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon.

"That is a slap in the face to every Police Officer as well as to every other St. Louis City employee," the statement read in part.


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