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Pay for top 3 St. Louis elected officials set to climb starting with next term

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St.Louis City Hall

The view of the new exterior lighting at City Hall donated by the Gateway Foundation as photographed on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.  

ST. LOUIS — Pay raises for the city’s top three elected officials were included in a salary increase bill for rank-and-file city employees signed into law last week by Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. But they won’t go into effect until after the end of their current terms.

The salary for the mayor, now set at $131,820, will jump 3% in 2025 to $135,772. The comptroller’s pay will go up by the same percentage, to $115,544 in 2025 from the current $112,190.

Jones and Comptroller Darlene Green won’t get the salary hikes, the first for those jobs since 2009, unless they’re reelected in 2025.

Meanwhile, the aldermanic president’s salary is slated under the bill to increase after the election in April of next year to $93,496.

That’s 3% more than the $90,766 that Lewis Reed, who resigned June 7 from the post after he was indicted on bribery-related charges, was getting.

A city ordinance calls for Joe Vollmer, the 10th Ward alderman who became acting president when Reed resigned, to get paid at the president’s rate while he handles both city posts simultaneously.

He’ll likely serve as acting president until November, when the city Election Board is expected to hold a special election to pick someone to serve the final five months of Reed’s term.

The 3% increases are the same percentage hikes that civil service workers covered by the bill will get in an across-the-board increase next month.

The civil service employees also will get a $2,000 bonus then, plus a 1.5% step increase on the anniversary date of their hiring. The three elected officials won’t get the bonus or the step increase.

The mayor and comptroller also receive $30,000 and $15,000 a year, respectively, in contingency funds; those are not set to increase.

The new pay legislation, which was passed by the Board of Aldermen, includes no increases for aldermen themselves.

A proposal submitted in January by an aldermanic subcommittee had called for doubling the aldermanic pay next year to $74,800 from the current $37,400 when the number of wards and aldermen is cut in half.

But no legislation has been introduced yet to carry out that proposal or a lesser increase. Aldermen and the aldermanic president also each get an annual expense account of $4,200.

Vollmer said Monday he essentially will hold two full-time jobs the next few months — as aldermanic president and at the bar-restaurant he and his wife operate in The Hill neighborhood.

“I’ll do what I have to do,” he said. “I know I can’t do this job for four years,” he said, referring to the president’s position.

Vollmer, who says he won’t run for aldermanic president in coming elections, took over Reed’s duties because he was the board’s vice president based on his seniority.

Vollmer said he already was putting in 30 to 40 hours a week as a ward alderman while running his business. He said he also can do some of the president’s duties from the eatery and that his wife is taking on more of the workload at the family business.

Technically, he said, he’s doing three jobs and being paid for two.

“I had a dead possum removed three days ago (from a street in the ward). That’s not presidential,” he quipped.

Vollmer backs Coatar

Meanwhile, Vollmer said he’ll support the electoral bid of 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar, who announced Friday he’d run for aldermanic president.

Vollmer and Coatar are in the board’s faction of moderate Democrats. The only other announced candidate, Alderman Megan Green of the 15th Ward, is in the party’s progressive wing.

Updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday with information on contingency and expense accounts.

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