Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - At least one member of the Rochester City Council has had a change of heart concerning a plan to more than double the salaries of Councilmembers and the Mayor.

The proposal, which was approved on 6-1 vote when it received its first reading by the City Council two weeks ago, still needs to pass a second reading next month before it becomes official. Fifth Ward Councilmember Shaun Palmer was among the majority that voted for the pay hikes in a formal vote on December 2nd, although he voted against an earlier motion to have staff study the issue and bring forward a recommendation.

Palmer says he has spoken with his constituents and told the other Councilmembers Monday that they are angry about the pay raises, which will push the salaries for members of the City Council from around $22,000 to almost $53,000 a year, while the pay for City Council President would rise to about $60,000 and the Mayor’s pay would increase to around $78,000. Palmer indicated he is especially opposed to the plan to link the pay the local median income for a single-person household. He contends that would almost always lead to automatic pay increases, a situation he termed “lazy.”

Palmer also objected to the argument that higher pay will translate into higher quality candidates for the elected positions. No other Councilmembers commented on the issue, including First Ward Councilmember Patrick Keane, who was the lone dissenter in the vote two weeks ago.

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