In August 2015 2UrbanGirls exclusively reported on a letter sent to the Compton City Councilmembers about their illegally inflating their pay. We conducted an interview with then City Attorney Craig Cornwell who argued that as a charter city, they are allowed to increase their pay without voter approval. When that argument fell on deaf ears within the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the council scaled back their pay but not other perks they receive.
On August 2, 2017, Councilmembers Isaac Galvan, Janna Zurita and Tana McCoy voted in favor of putting a charter amendment before voters on the November ballot. Mayor Aja Brown and Emma Sharif voted against the measure.
In November 2017 Compton voters were asked to approve increasing the council’s salary of $7,200 per year to the median income of the city’s residents. If Measure A passed, council members would receive $43,000 per year and the mayor would receive $54,000. 73% of the voters voted against the raise.
The city has now assembled a Charter Review Committee who many residents feel has been created to ask voters for yet another salary increase. Former City Attorney Legrand Clegg is the committee chair who changed residency requirements to run for city council from one year to 30 days prior to the election. Clegg was recently hired by Councilwoman Michelle Chambers when he residency was questioned due to multiple address changes during her 2019 campaign.
Clegg changed the charter to allow now City Manager Craig Cornwell to be appointed to City Attorney. The meeting where this action took place resulted in a letter from the District Attorney being delivered to Compton City Hall.
2UrbanGirls was able to reach Councilman Isaac Galvan about what is the true intentions of this committee.
“This committee is too secretive as the City Manager has expressed that Councilmembers are not allowed to attend the meetings,” said Galvan. “His executive assistant Robert Chase doesn’t alert the public then cancels meetings at will.”
Neither Cornwell or Chase have responded to requests for comment.
“My appointee hasn’t been properly notified and has missed meetings. It’s as if my colleagues want to get certain items on the November ballot with no public input,” said Galvan.
The March 24th council agenda lists a timeframe for the charter review committee to have proposed amendments to the council by August 7th to ensure they are on the November 3rd ballot.
When asked what is the justification for wanting increased salaries Galvan was quite candid.
“Mayor Brown feels she can stand on street repairs,” said Galvan. “We also believe the mayor is attempting to extend her term an additional year, but, because my appointees haven’t been notified of the meetings, I am in the dark just as the public is.”
The mayor held a highly publicized press conference, on January 17th, stating the city found money to repair the streets. In actuality, the money is coming from not filling vacant city positions, despite voters agreeing to a higher sales tax that was marketed for street repairs.
Galvan confirmed that councilmembers receive $600 monthly salary, $600 auto allowance, compensation from outside committees they are appointed to and approx. $350 for technology (cellphone, wifi, computers, etc.).
Should councilmembers receive additional compensation?