Do Fresno City Councilmembers deserve a 23% raise? That question is up for debate at the next meeting Dec. 14.
According to the agenda, Councilman Oliver Baines is sponsoring the ordinance that would raise council salaries from $65,000 to $80,000. The council president (currently Clint Olivier; scheduled to be Esmeralda Soria in January) would go from $70,169.50 to $85,000. [Clarification: it is not clear if Soria would benefit from the raise. The ordinance’s language says it starts when “commencing a new term.” It is unclear if that means a sitting council member taking over as president while still serving their respective term.]
The raises would go into effect when a new term starts. Thus, Baines, who is termed out, would not see the benefit of his legislation.
Half-Million for PR Firm
Also, the council will mull awarding a $520,555 public relations contract to Jeffrey Scott Advertising for work on behalf of the public utilities department. Of the three PR firms that bid, JSA was the highest. According to a report from the internal committee that picked them, JSA has worked with the department for 15 years.
“They are familiar with the existing challenges that the City is facing, in regards to Public Information sharing. JSA met all requirements of the RFP, presented a strong and professional presentation, proposal and interview. They have an impressive strategic marketing and creative public information outreach plan,” the report says.
Councilman Clint Olivier is termed out of his District 7 seat in next year’s election, but he is nominating a potential successor for a city commission.
The council will vote on Brian Whelan, whom Olivier wants to appoint to the Capital Projects Oversight Board. The attorney intends to run for the District 7 seat in the June primary.
Other top contenders for the seat include Fresno County Board of Education Trustee Nelson Esparza, health care expert Genova Islas and Theresa Orantes.
Baines, Olivier and councilman Paul Caprioglio are proposing so-far vague zoning changes to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. Although there is nothing specific in the ordinance, it directs marijuana businesses to apply for a state license.