INGLEWOOD — Councilman Danny Tabor has proposed raising Mayor Edward Vincent's salary from $10,800 to almost $50,000 a year to discourage Vincent from leaving the job to seek higher public office.
Tabor's proposal, which would require voter approval, would amend the city Charter job description of the mayor's position to make it a full-time job and give the post new responsibilities. Vincent already is the highest-paid mayor in the South Bay, followed by Sylvia Muise, who receives $8,056 a year as part-time mayor of Carson. All South Bay mayoral positions are part time. Tom Bradley is paid $88,778 annually for his full-time job as Los Angeles mayor.
Inglewood, the second-most-populous city in the South Bay, already has one of the highest-paid city managers in the country, according to a study conducted by the Government Finance Officers Assn., a Chicago-based, nonprofit organization that conducts research for municipal governments. City Manager Paul Eckles earns $97,315 a year.
Vincent, who was elected this month to his second four-year term with roughly 80% of the vote, has not acknowledged any plans to seek higher office and declined to comment on the proposal this week. In an interview after his reelection, he said it was "too early to talk about things like" seeking higher office.
But Tabor, who said Vincent has reduced crime and increased development in the city, said in a memo to city officials that "many people have suggested that he would be a natural candidate for . . . a 'higher' public office, such as a seat in the state Legislature."
"I think it is too bad that we have to have this kind of speculation," Tabor wrote. "Mayor Vincent is doing a great job as mayor and I think we need to keep him right here in Inglewood."
"I believe that the people of Inglewood would be shocked if they understood that the Mayor of Inglewood currently receives a salary lower than that of a clerk typist." Typist clerks, the correct title for the full-time position, earn between $12,783 and $17,229 a year.
Tabor recommended that the council place the proposal before voters in the April 7 election. Urged by Councilmen Bruce Smith and Anthony Scardenzan, council members this week postponed a decision so they would have more time to study the measure.
Although the Tuesday afternoon meeting drew an unusually large attendance of about 30 residents, the proposal drew no response from the public.
"I don't think people understand that the council is proposing an almost four-fold salary increase for the mayor," said Don McClure, a charter member of the Inglewood Breakfast Forum citizens group. He noted that the council discussed increasing Vincent's compensation without discussing a dollar amount. Tabor's memo was not circulated.
Mayor Deserves a Raise
"I agree that the mayor deserves some sort of increased compensation for the duties he performs but I don't know if the city needs to pay the mayor that much money," said McClure, who was not speaking for the Breakfast Forum. "I think doubling the mayor's salary would be compensation enough."
Other community groups contacted by The Times, including the Inglewood Concerned Citizens Committee and Homeowners for Inglewood's Future, reserved comment until members received more information.
The council is expected to vote on the Charter amendment at the Dec. 8 council meeting. It would have to be approved by Jan. 7 to go on the April 7 municipal ballot.
Under the proposal, the mayor's new responsibilities would include establishing and directing the development process for the city, appointing the members of all boards and commissions with the advice and consent of the City Council, and serving as chairman of related city agencies such as the Redevelopment Agency, the Housing Authority, and the Parking Authority. Currently, some board and commission members are appointed by the city manager and others are named by the mayor.
No Raise for Council
The mayor currently earns $900 per month. In addition, he earns $150 a month for chairing the housing and redevelopment agencies. City councilmen earn $450 per month. Tabor said he does not plan to propose raising the City Council salaries.
Vincent, 52, who is a county probation officer, has been receiving disability pay for several months. Though Vincent was not available to comment on the Charter amendment, he frequently has said that he spends "far in excess" of 40 hours a week fulfilling his duties as mayor.
The proposed amendment would raise the mayor's salary to two-thirds of the $74,432 annual salary for a Municipal Court judge, or $49,621. In drafting the proposed amendment for Tabor, the city used that formula to keep the mayor's salary in line with other officials, said Deputy City Manager Norman Cravens.