With the growth of the city, the demands on top officials have increased sharply. City Council members represent many more residents today and deal with vastly more complex issues than the Tucson city charter ever envisioned when it was written in 1929.
It is unrealistic to continue to treat the jobs of mayor and council members as being part-time. Since the mayor and city council members already feel obligated to spend full-time on their jobs, the city charter needs to acknowledge this change, and their salaries need to be increased to reflect the demands of the jobs. The current annual salaries for the mayor ($42,000) and the city council members ($24,000) are a burden to office holders. Equally important, they severely limit the number of qualified people who are willing to run for the offices.
Index mayor and council salaries to the economy or to the salaries of other office holders whose salaries are set in an objective manner. One option: Index their salaries to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, whose salaries are set by state law. The additional cost easily could be offset by asking council members to reduce their staffs by one aide each.