The Lakewood City Council is set to boost its monthly pay to $1,731.00. The amount represents more than the average 1-bedroom apartment in the City.
The ordinance has been included in the “Routine Items” for the June 8th, 2021, meeting of the Council. The meeting agenda says, “All items listed within this section of the agenda are considered to be routine and will be enacted by one motion without separate discussion.” That is, the Council is expected to pass the item by default, without dedicated time for input from the public.
Elizabeth Castillo, a Lakewood resident who has been a notable activist in the City, stated to Political Life, “I think it’s inappropriate for City officials to be giving themselves raises when there are working class people and the poor struggling to make ends meet because of job loss and the loss of healthcare.”
It is notable that the Council Members do not seem to be under major financial duress. Mayor Jeff Wood is employed as Chief of Staff to the Superintendent-President of Long Beach Community College. Wood's pay and benefits package in 2019 was reported to be $145,155.00. This figure places Wood's personal income tens of thousands above the City's average household income.
It remains unclear if the City considered the toll of COVID-19 on City budgets before deciding to give themselves a raise, up from the current compensation of $1,649.00. Mayor Jeff Wood can be reached at (562) 754-1285.