'Fairly Reasonable': Pay Increase For Mayor Of Tulsa Under Discussion By City Council

To attract more qualified candidates for all positions, the city council says pay needs to keep up with inflation.

Wednesday, February 7th 2024, 10:25 pm



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The Tulsa City Council is discussing a proposal to raise the pay for several municipal leaders including the mayor.

The mayor’s $105,000 salary hasn’t changed in more than 20 years.

To attract more qualified candidates for all positions, the city council says pay needs to keep up with inflation.

A proposal by City Councilor Crista Patrick plans to revisit the pay for several municipal positions including council members, city auditor, and the mayor, whose $105,000 salary was last changed in 2002

“It would raise it to approximately $190,000 and being that he’s essentially the CEO of a 3500-employee organization, that seemed fairly reasonable,” Patrick said.

The new salary would be an 80-percent increase, but factoring in the average inflation rate since 2002, the new salary would only be about a $10,000 increase.

Patrick says the auditor’s salary would be 70 percent of the mayor’s and council members would be set around 30 percent.

Former Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett agrees a pay raise is warranted, but hopes it doesn’t send the wrong message to future candidates.

“I think what we want to avoid is people looking at being mayor or looking at a city councilor mainly for the purpose of getting a big pay raise,” Bartlett said.

Patrick says it’s because of the pay that she isn’t seeking re-election, but hopes a change can help future city leaders.

Executive Director of Oklahoma Municipal League Mike Fina also supports a pay raise and says the amount of commitment each position requires doesn’t allow for other income.

“They’re not even making half of a living wage so it’s really at that point just a volunteer position,” Fina said. “I don’t know why in government we look at that and think that that’s a bad thing to pay people to do a good job.”

There wasn’t a decision made on Wednesday, but if the council does move forward on the decision, the final approval will be left up to voters and won’t take effect until a new mayor takes office.

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