Salt Lake City mayor proposes nearly $44k salary increase — for herself

Salt Lake City Council members would also receive raises under the proposal.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall during a meeting about the proposed downtown sports and entertainment district on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. The mayor has proposed a 26% salary increase for herself and city council members.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall wants to give herself a raise.

City Council members are considering a proposal that would give the mayor and themselves a 26% pay increase in the upcoming budget. If approved, Mendenhall’s annual pay would jump from about $168,000 to nearly $212,000. Salaries for part-time council members would increase from about $42,000 to roughly $53,000.

Mendenhall’s spokesperson, Andrew Wittenberg, said in a statement that the mayor leads the most populous city in “one of the fastest-growing, most dynamic states” while earning less than most of her Cabinet.

“This compensation adjustment addresses a pay disparity both in comparison to cities and towns in the state and within Salt Lake City Corp.,” he said. “This position has not received a market rate adjustment in at least 10 years.”

Residents, Wittenberg insisted, would not feel a financial impact from the mayor’s raise.

Mendenhall has seen incremental pay increases since taking office. According to the state-run website Transparent Utah, the mayor earned about $151,500 in 2021 and nearly $158,000 in 2022.

This year’s proposed budget calls for giving all city employees a 5% raise.

Salt Lake City Council spokesperson Whitney González Fernández said a city ordinance requires that council member salaries be tied to the mayor’s salary. Because Mendenhall is proposing an increase for herself, it automatically triggers a proposal to increase council salaries.

Council members scheduled the first open hearing on the proposal for Tuesday night, the same night of the first dedicated chance for the public to weigh in on a potential sales tax hike that would support a downtown sports district.

[Watch here: SLC Council to hold public hearing in downtown sports district plan.]

González Fernández said the timeline state lawmakers set in SB272 — the bill that allows the city to negotiate for an entertainment district — constricted the council’s flexibility on scheduling, and that the two hearings happened to fall on the same meeting date.

Another public comment period for the potential salary increases is scheduled for June 4.