OAKLEY -- Council members here think they could use a raise -- even if it only amounts to little more than chump change.
The Oakley City Council on Tuesday discussed the idea of increasing members' stipend by 5 percent, which the state allows when one or more members start a new term in office. Two seats are up for grabs in November's election.
Any increase the council approves would not take effect until after the election; this way, members who vote for the pay hike won't necessarily reap the benefits because they might lose the election or simply decide not to run again.
Oakley council members have been receiving $435 a month since January 2011; a 5 percent increase would boost their monthly pay by $21.75, bringing it to $456.75. The adjustment would cost the city an additional $1,305 annually.
Councilwoman Diane Burgis favored the change, saying the stipend should be large enough to attract candidates for office including those of modest means.
"I don't think it should just be wealthy people who serve on a council," she said.
Even with the increase, the pay of Oakley's elected officials would fall short of what their counterparts in other East Contra Costa cities receive: Pittsburg council members earn a monthly stipend of $500; Brentwood's are paid $569.25, and Antioch's get $941.20.
Special Counsel Bill Galstan, who first raised the possibility of raising the pay for Oakley council members, pointed out that they eliminated retirement benefits for those elected after July 2012. Moreover, council members do not receive any break on health insurance premiums, he said.
In the end, the City Council informally agreed to pay itself more; the change will become official once they pass an ordinance at a future meeting.
Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.