In less than two minutes the Guthrie City Council approved amending the proposed stipend dollar amount for city council members. The action took place Thursday evening in a special city council meeting.
With just enough council members present for a quorum, a 4-0 vote was taken to ask registered voters on April 4 to decide if city council members should be paid a $300 monthly stipend.
Currently, members are paid $1 a year, according to the City charter. To change the charter, a vote of the people is required.
Councilman Jeff Taylor, Jim Case, Brian Bothroyd, and Don Channel were present. Absent were Tracy Williams, James Long, and Mayor Steve Gentling.
Just last week the council voted, 5-1, for a $600 a-month stipend. Williams was the lone no vote at the Jan. 17 meeting. Long was not present for either of the two meetings. Related article: City council members seeking added compensation; citizens to decide
In the Jan. 17 meeting, “outdated” numbers were shared among council members on how other towns compensated their members.
By Wednesday, City staff solicit information from 18 towns following the Jan. 17 meeting for a true summary of council compensation. Despite those numbers not being discussed in the public meeting, the information was provided in the agenda packet.
“I’ve decided after looking at the figures and consideration we probably did not dig deep enough into the cities that are more the size and scope that we are,” Channel said to the council.
One-third of the towns reported no compensation for their council, including Yukon, El Reno, Chickasha, Glenpool, Hugo, and Lone Grove.
Towns with council compensation ranged from $1,000 a month to $3 a meeting. The full list, excluding Norman who pays $50 a month plus $25 if a member attends all monthly meetings, is at the bottom of this article.
Claremore has a population of 19,419 — compared to Guthrie’s 11,000 population — pays $50 a meeting. McAlester (18,244 population) pays their mayor $75 a month and council members $50. Piedmont (7,884 population) pays out $35 a month, while Harrah (6,352 population) pays the mayor $75 and members $50.
With a population of 10,149, Coweta pays their mayor $350 a month and members $250.
In Guthrie, the conversation of compensation began with health insurance coverage for the council. According to Bothroyd in the Jan. 17 meeting, those numbers were estimated at $625 a month.
“I think by just dividing out the cost of the insurance we probably shot a little high,” Channel said Thursday evening. “I move that we cut that in half to $300 a month.”
Taylor made the second and with no discussion the motion passed. Now the measure goes to the election on April 4.