DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Delray Beach commissioners and the mayor voted Tuesday to nearly triple their salaries in a controversial move at a time when the city faced a budget shortfall.
The pay increase passed by a margin of 3-2 with Commissioners Ryan Boylston and Adam Frankel casting the dissenting votes. This is the first raise approved by the commission since 2006.
"We might be the only city in America that is increasing the salaries of their elected officials during these times," Boylston said.
Right now, commissioners make $750 a month or $9,000 annually. Mayor Shelly Petrolia makes $1,000 a month or $12,000 yearly.
The pay increase for commissioners will increase to $2,000 a month or $24,000 annually and for the mayor $2,500 a month or $30,000 annually.
Boylston had said he opposed the pay increase because the city is facing a significant budgeting adjustment with the pandemic and already had to adjust for a $2.2 million shortfall.
"This is during the same time that we have been told our cuts in the budget will most likely results in layoffs and salary freezes," Boylston said.
Petrolia said the salary changes will go into effect in March 2021, but they do not have to accept it.
"If times are not changing, and we see this is not a good time, we can say we are not going to accept the salary," Petrolia said.
The mayor said the new pay rate aligns Delray Beach with the salaries of other elected officials in nearby cities.
She also argues the salaries are based on a 60-hour work month, which they often exceed.
"This job is not about the money, but it should not cost commissioners money to do the job," Petrolia said.
The new salaries will be factored into next year's budget.