Ooops. We know math is tough and even tougher when it dictates that you fork over a portion of your paycheck. It would appear that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had some difficulty with these math problems when it came to his own salary. During his 2011 campaign, Hancock promised to return to the city any salary increases he received once elected.
He made good on this promise and returned the first part of the 6.6% salary boost, but never adjusted the second portion of the salary hike, which took effect in July 2014. Perhaps it’s an honest mistake. Once The Denver Post called him on it, he swore he’d make good on the promise.
But, here’s what’s not a mistake. Hancock intends to take his full salary if re-elected. Currently, without the salary hike, he’s bringing home $145,601. If re-elected, he would end up with a 17.6% salary increase because his starting salary would jump to $163,2014 in July 2015 and $171,194 in July 2016. (Obviously, if he had taken the full salary, the salary increase would be…wait for it…10.3%.) Here’s the rationale the Mayor cited for keeping his salary:
“We’ll just baseline to the new salary,” Hancock said during an interview last week, before The Post questioned his salary records. “I deferred it for two years. Now I’ve got two kids in college and one on the way (to college), so I’ve got to be more prudent with my personal situation as well.”
Hancock’s constituents probably feel the same way, but their salary increases are far more modest. Here’s what we reported back in January about the Denver City Council’s vote to increase salaries by 10.3%:
“We reported on this issue when it first arose back in January and pointed out that a pay increase of 6.6% for elected officials in Denver just went into effect last year and the average inflation in Denver was just 9.6% over the past three years. Denver City Councilmembers, essentially, are nearly doubling the rate of inflation (16.9% in raises vs. the 9.3% in inflation). Of course, the average per capita income in Denver is just $52,110, putting the new salaries ($87,623 for members and $98,122 for the President) of Denver City Councilmembers at nearly double the average income of the people they represent. That’s to say nothing of the rumored massive expense accounts they have.”
We believe the Mayor when he says that money is tight. It’s just that with the median Denver salary one-third of his proposed new salary, it’s awfully hard to muster sympathy for his plight.