Committee explores  mayoral duties

The Brentwood City Council moved forward with a plan this week to review the role and expectations of the mayoral position.

Vice Mayor Joel Bryant and City Councilman Steve Barr will head up an ad hoc committee aimed at adjusting the position to add expectations and duties.

The move comes in response to Mayor Bob Taylor’s widespread involvement in regional committees while in the seat, which has paid dividends for the city, said City Councilman Erick Stonebarger.

“Bob has gotten us a lot of transportation money that we wouldn’t have probably gotten if he wasn’t at the table, and I think it’s appropriate for us to look at it and see if we’d want to make that part of some of the duties of the mayor,” said Stonebarger.

Unlike most general-law cities in the state, Brentwood’s mayor is selected in an at-large election as opposed to being selected by members on the council, which makes representing the city on a regional level a logical duty of the position, said City Councilman Steve Barr.

It is anticipated the ad hoc committee will meet on an as-needed basis for an unknown amount of time before returning to the full council with recommendations. The committee will also explore increasing the mayor’s pay accordingly if additional duties are assigned, Stonebarger said. 

Currently, the mayor receives the same salary and benefits given to council members.

“There is a fair amount of unknowns that we are going to start coming across as we start to dig through this and start to try putting parameters around it,” said Stonebarger.

As expected, the council also moved forward with an increase in its member’s pay this week, which it began discussing at its Sept. 23 meeting.

Beginning with the council’s new term on Dec. 9, council members, including the mayor, will receive their first raise in 13 years, upping their monthly salary by $370.01 to $939.26. The increase is the largest allowed under state law, which dictates increases cannot be more than five percent of the current salary multiplied by the number of years since the last increase.

Currently, council members receive a monthly salary of $569.25, which ranks near the bottom among other county agencies.

The council unanimously agreed at its Sept. 23 meeting that a salary increase is necessary to attract future quality candidates and cover some costs of serving. 

“When I used to teach government, we used to teach young people to get involved in government, participate, but we are kind of evolving into a system that you either have to be retired, have a flexible work schedule or be independently wealthy to serve in local government,” said City Councilman Gene Clare during the council’s initial discussion about the increase.

In an effort to be transparent, the council also moved ahead with a plan to adopt all future council benefits through an ordinance as opposed to a resolution, which has been done in the past. 

Resolutions go into effect immediately and do not require multiple readings, while ordinances require two reviews or readings by a council and do not go into effect until 30 days after the adoption of the second reading.