SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall wants to give herself a hefty raise. Here’s what Tribune readers are saying.

The adjustment, if approved, would give the mayor and Salt Lake City Council members a 26% pay increase.

(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

Mayor Erin Mendenhall wants to give herself a raise, and Salt Lake Tribune readers are abuzz with thoughts on her proposal.

City Council members are considering an adjustment 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.

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.

Mendenhall’s spokesperson, Andrew Wittenberg, said in a statement that residents would not feel a financial impact from the mayor’s raise.

“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.”

The proposal spurred hundreds of comments that spanned social media and sltrib.com. Here’s what readers are saying:

One sltrib.com commenter joked that the mayor “must be trying to buy her first two-room apartment in Salt Lake City.”

Another chimed in: “Come on, Erin. We’re having a hard enough time making ends meet, let alone giving you an extra $44,000 each year. That raise alone is about what an average middle-class worker earns. Get reasonable. The president earns $400,000 annually. You only ‘manage’ one city and expect to get over half of what POTUS earns?”

Some commenters agreed with the proposal, however, saying mayors of other large cities already make more than Mendenhall does, and that the position she holds is a “thankless job.”

“She’s doing a great job,” one user wrote. “SLC is vibrant and on the go due to her leadership. She shouldn’t be paid less than her Cabinet.”

On the Tribune’s Instagram account, one user was “shocked to see how much city officials make.”

“I don’t agree with her Cabinet making more than her, so some adjustment must be made,” the commenter wrote. “But if we are going to pay our elected officials and their Cabinets six figures, it’s time to create a universal income for those who struggle to escape poverty. If she’s willing to bring pay up to equal levels, let’s do this across the board.”

Commentary on the proposal wasn’t contained to social media or The Tribune’s website. At Tuesday night’s council meeting, one commenter called the mayor’s proposal “extremely greedy.”

“I know you don’t think you deserve more funding for doing absolutely nothing while some of your constituents work minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and sometimes even less than that,” Ryleigh Hewlett told the council. “The mayor is suggesting over $200,000 a year which is way more than our teachers make, some doctors make.”

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