Charleston looking into the salaries of mayor, City Council

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley makes about $163,000 per year, a rate that falls below that of many city leaders in the state and region, and one that hasn't increased in the past four years.

A six-member citizens' committee last week began studying compensation for the mayor and members of Charleston City Council. The committee could recommend to City Council that it boost those salaries. But even if it does, the change wouldn't go into effect until after the November election. So Riley wouldn't benefit from it.

Charleston businessman Bill Scarborough is the chairman of the committee. He was part the committee that studied salaries in 2008, said Steve Bedard, the city's finance director.

The committee will meet again Feb. 10, Bedard said, and likely will vote on the matter. City Council must vote on the recommendation.

That vote likely will happen in late February or early March, Bedard said.

Bedard said the committee might decide to raise the mayor of Charleston's salary so it is higher than North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey's. Summey will earn $176,255 starting in 2016.

“If so, the next mayor of Charleston, with no experience, will make more than Mayor Riley makes now,” Bedard said.

Charleston City Council members earn $15,000 per year, which is more than council members earn in Columbia and Greenville. But it's less than what North Charleston City Council and Charleston County Council members earn.

Mayor and city manager salaries
CitySalaryPopulationEmployees
Charlotte$245,000749,7376,882
Raleigh, N.C.$215,000430,0003,666
Savannah$198,900142,0002,500
Columbia$193,800131,6862,322
Greenville$192,10958,409946
North Charleston$176,255101,9891,038
Rock Hill$175,44868,094785
Hilton Head$175,20338,366249
Charleston$162,816128,9001,750
Spartanburg$132,50037,401410

City/County Council salaries
City/CountySalary
Charleston County$20,737
Rock Hill$16,348
North Charleston$15,965
Charleston$15,000
Columbia$13,350
Hilton Head$12,800
Greenville$11,773
Spartanburg$11,400
Mount Pleasant$8,918
 

 

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.