"Orem wants full-time pay for mayor" was a headline that recently caught my eye. A more appropriate headline would be "Orem City Council wants full-time pay for mayor." As an Orem resident, I do not want full-time pay for the mayor now, particularly at the expense of the new public safety building. The major issue to me is not whether, but when, the mayor should have full-time pay. The current mayor ran knowing what the pay, benefits and duties of Orem's mayor would be. If he planned to see the pay of the mayor immediately raised to $60,000, an increase of over $45,000, he should have made that clear when he ran. Since he did not, it would seem appropriate for him to accept the current compensation until after the next election.
During the last election, some would-be candidates may not have taken the opportunity to run for office knowing it would be difficult if not impossible to do while maintaining their full-time jobs. Making the office of mayor a well-paid position opens the opportunity for these citizens to run by allowing them to leave their employment. Conversely, this will preclude the candidates who cannot leave their employment on a full-time basis for an extended period from seeking office. For better or worse, the purely "community service" aspect of this elected office will be diminished and more "career politicians" will seek the position.Mayors in the past have given full-time service for little compensation. Perhaps it is time to end this practice, but not before Orem citizens have had a chance to consider the change and vote for a "paid full-time mayor." If the council approves this increase and the mayor accepts, it is, in my opinion, contrary to the principles of fair play and a breech of the trust of Orem's residents.