The Tracy City Council decided on a 3-2 vote Tuesday that council members are due for a raise.
While council members said they don’t do the job for the money — they get paid $595 a month — only Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Young, Councilwoman Rhodesia Ransom and Councilman Dan Arriola agreed that the city’s policy makers should earn more than they do now.
They voted for a 5% annual raise for every year since 2007, the last time the council got a raise. That adds up to an increase of $351 to a total of $936 a month with an extra $100 for the mayor.
The raise takes effect Jan. 1, 2021, so the only council member who is certain to see that raise is Arriola, who was elected to his first four-year term in 2018.
Mayor Robert Rickman, who voted against the raise, will reach his two-term limit at the end of the year, and he is now seeking a seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.
Councilwoman Veronica Vargas, who also opposed the raise, has two years left of her second term, but she is also running for the county supervisor’s seat and would have to leave the council if elected.
Ransom has served one four-year term on the council, but instead of running for re-election, she too is running for the county supervisor’s seat.
Young is completing her second term on the council and cannot run for re-election to that position. She is running for mayor of Tracy in 2020.
Young said that council service should include a decent paycheck, and she pushed back against Edgewood resident Alice English’s assertion that council members don’t deserve a raise because some of them don’t do their homework or talk to the city staff about issues facing the city.
“To say that different ones do not do their homework, I take offense at that for everybody,” Young said. “It takes a lot of work every day to actually talk to people, to listen to people, to make proactive actions to make this city a better place through our volunteering and the transparency of our whole lives.
She added that council members also represent the city on regional commissions and make time for meetings beyond the council’s twice-monthly meetings.
“Whoever sits in these seats deserves to be compensated fairly,” Young said. “I feel this is absolutely reasonable and is not asking for a whole lot.”
Rickman said the extra compensation is unnecessary because people run for office to be of service.
“I’m here because I love this city. It’s my home, and I thought when I ran for office that I could impart some change for the better and make it better not just for my children, but generations down the line,” he said.