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Millcreek • Seven months after the creation of this new city, elected leaders are moving to establish salaries for the mayor and city council members with additional discussion on the topic expected at their next meeting July 17.
The suggested compensation for Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini is $40,000 plus benefits, while those on the city council would be paid $15,000 annually and would also receive benefits. Although Silvestrini's position is a part-time job, he said Monday that being mayor is a full-time responsibility.
"I would fear for the residents of our city if someone was elected that treated it as a part-time job," said Silvestrini. "My day begins frequently at 7:30 in the morning and doesn't end until 9:00 at night."
Before proposing these salaries, Millcreek consulted with Salt Lake City Compensation Program Manager David Salazar, who presented them compensation data for city officials throughout Salt Lake County.
Millcreek has 62,139 residents according to the 2010 census, making it the sixth most populated city in Salt Lake County. Taylorsville Mayor Larry Johnson, who represents about 2,000 fewer residents than Silvestrini, holds a full-time position with an $85,464 salary and benefits worth about $34,000. In Murray, with a population approaching 50,0000, Mayor Ted Eyre also is full time, with a salary of $94,407 and benefits of about $42,000.
However, South Jordan's part-time mayor, David Alvord, whose city has some 69,000 residents, draws a $22,111 salary, plus benefits valued at $8,600.
(The compensation amounts here are those reported by the respective cities on the state's transparency website.)
Silvestrini left his job as an attorney to run for mayor, where he said he made a substantial income.
"I think it should be apparent to everyone that we're not doing this for the money," he said.
Council members emphasized the importance of a salary that provides enough income to live on so that residents from all backgrounds can afford to run for office.
"In the future, when I'm not on this council, I know that a lot of people in my area that might have a desire to run for my position may have to work a full-time job or may not have access to health insurance," said City Councilwoman Silvia Catten. "I think it's a nice option to have for people who don't have the benefit of being able to pick and choose."
During a public hearing Monday evening, Millcreek resident Paul Cisneros took issue with the timing of the proposal. He questioned whether Silvestrini and the council chose to announce the salary proposals after the candidate filing period for upcoming elections to avoid the possibility of drawing more challengers.
While city leaders recognized Cisneros' point as valid, they said the election didn't cross their minds as they worked to determine salaries. Rather, they waited until a budget was established before allocating tax dollars to their paychecks.
Silvestrini maintained that he is attempting to do what is best for the city, saying, "What we tried to do with these salaries is pay ourselves something that is fair and non-exorbitant to our citizens in comparison with other cities of our size."