Briefcase

Briefcase: City Council Salary Structures

Guest: Professor Kellen Zale

In the midst of an effort to close the city of Houston’s $160 million budget deficit, some may wonder how do government salaries affect the budget deficit?

Professor Kellen Zale, with The University of Houston Law Center writes and teaches about local government law and made a comparison of our city council salaries to other cities.

“Houston has one of the lowest city council salaries among the ten largest U.S. cities,” Professor Zale said. “While a low salary standard saves taxpayers money, it potentially limits elected office to those wealthy enough to afford it and may affect the quality of governance.”

Zale said there’s a reason council salaries matter. “Our cities are responsible for a vast range of substantive policy-making, and cities are increasingly taking on broader, more innovative roles in the face of deadlock at the federal and state level. How much we pay council members could broaden, or limit, the pool of potential public servants.”

 

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