California Bill to Increase Diversity Among Councilmembers by Raising Salaries Heads to Governor’s Desk

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The bill, known as Senate Bill 329 and authored by state Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa, is now awaiting Governor Gavin Newsom‘s signature.

Increase Diversity Among Councilmembers
Increase Diversity Among Councilmembers ( Photo: LAist )

City council members in California may soon see a boost in their salaries as a bill aimed at increasing diversity among council members has cleared the state’s Legislature

If signed into law, the bill would permit city councils to raise their maximum pay in order to keep up with inflation. Any salary increases would require a simple majority vote by the council and would be determined using the California Consumer Price Index.

According to Sen. Dodd, the low levels of pay currently offered to city council members make it challenging for individuals to balance their careers and personal obligations with their commitment to serving the community. This particularly affects working people and those from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds. By allowing councils to adjust their maximum pay to reflect inflation, Sen. Dodd believes the bill will eliminate barriers to achieving more equitable representation in local government.

City council members’ salaries are capped based on the population size of their cities, with maximum pay raises set by state law remaining unchanged since 1984

As a result, for cities with populations under 35,000, monthly salaries generally do not exceed $300. Supporters of the bill, such as Rohnert Park Mayor Samantha Rodriguez, view it as a significant step towards achieving equity. Rodriguez, who testified in favor of the bill, explained that many council members currently receive minimal or no pay. The proposed increase in salaries would create opportunities for working individuals who have had to juggle jobs, childcare, and education while engaging in public service.

The League of California Cities and the NAACP have expressed their support for the bill, highlighting its potential to enhance diversity and representation in local government. As of now, Governor Newsom’s office has not provided any comment on the bill.


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