Around Town | July 2, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 2, 2010

Around Town

WAGE LABOR ... The Palo Alto City Council is, in its own view, an underpaid bunch. Members receive $7,200 a year to read thick bundles of weekly staff reports, pass budgets and set the city's policies. By Councilwoman Karen Holman's estimation, the salary translates to about $3.47 an hour. With that in mind, the city's group of elected below-minimum-wage-earners defeated a proposal by the council's Finance Committee to trim the council salaries by 10 percent. Councilman Greg Schmid, who opposed the pay cut as chair of the Finance Committee, said Monday he was taking his cue from another civic leader — President George Washington. One of Washington's greatest decisions during the Revolutionary War, Schmid said, was to recruit and retain a professional army to oppose the British oppressors. Washington defied calls to rely on volunteers, recognizing that the nation needed to provide financial incentives to its soldiers. "You don't want soldiers who come out on one glorious day at Bunker Hill," Schmid said. "You need them seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. By paying them something, you create incentive."

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