Middleton mayor wants big salary increase

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by Jamie Grey

NWCN.com

Posted on August 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:14 AM

MIDDLETON -- Almost a year after some residents attempted a recall election on the mayor of Middleton, he's asking for a big salary bump.

Mayor Darin Taylor says he's taken on more than his elected part-time role and deserves up to around four times what he's making now.

On a worksheet given to the city council and mailed with the most recent water bills, Taylor lays out the duties he says he's been performing and how much they're worth based on other similarly sized Idaho cities.

According to his calculations, that's $75,000 a year, much more than his current $18,000 a year salary.

Taylor says he deserves more money because he's doing jobs that used to be done by three people: The mayor, public works director, and city planning manager. He says he has been averaging 55 hours of work for the city each week.

"I'm hoping that city council will recognize the efforts that I've been doing for two years, for $18,000, and say, yeah, it's time for Middleton to have a full-time mayor and increase the pay to what is commensurate with that in our city," Taylor said.

Taylor says his experience as an attorney and land use development made it natural for him to absorb the work from those three positions. He says a raise for him to keep doing multiple jobs is a money-saver, until Middleton's population grows beyond its current 6-thousand.

"It makes more sense to have a full-time planner and full-time public works employee once we get closer to a bigger population. Right now, we're all trying to do multi-functions just to be efficient with our money and keep taxes low," Taylor said.

Some critics are already responding to Taylor's request, saying they don't think his position should get anymore money.

"I wasn't surprised at all. That was one of the reasons we tried to get him recalled was because you could see what was going on by him terminating the public works director, the planning and zoning person, and basically assuming those roles as the mayor," Tyson Sparrow, who opposes raise, said. "Essentially when he was sworn into office, he eliminated all those positions. It's like a firefighter coming to your house, setting your house on fire and then wanting you to pay him to put it out."

Sparrow led the recall effort last year, which failed to get enough signatures to get on the ballot. If a pay raise is approved, Sparrow says he'll renew efforts to recall the mayor, and will come after the council with recall efforts too.

A decision on changing the mayor's salary in city code was supposed to happen Wednesday evening at the council meeting. Calls from KTVB to Taylor Wednesday night to find out the outcome of the meeting were not immediately returned.

The newsletter had previously said Taylor's salary wouldn't come up until the August 21 meeting.

The mayor says that August 21 meeting will still happen and the salary budget can be re-approved or denied then, and public comment will happen at both.

Taylor says the council has already planned a $55,000 salary for him during budget work sessions. He tells us without a raise, he won't run for reelection.

His current term ends in December 2015.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday night that would cap the mayor's salary at $52,000. The matter will be voted on at the next meeting on Aug. 21.

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