Council discusses changing start time, raises wage

By Brett Callwood

At the City Council meeting on the evening of Tuesday, November 14, Action Item 14A saw the council discuss changing the City Council meeting time so that it would start and hopefully end earlier.

The idea was initially raised by Council Member Wanda Love at the previous meeting, when she stated that the meetings are dragging on for so long that it is restricting some members of the public from participating.

However, Mayor Tasha Cerda said that the meetings have always started at 7 p.m. and it has never been an issue. All of the council said that they would restrict the amount of time wasting that can take place, and that they would make sure they exit Closed Session at 7:20. 

For now, the start time will remain the same.

Item 14B saw the council provide direction to the City Attorney Carmen Vasquez regarding raising the salary for elected officials. 

Those wages haven’t been adjusted since 1984, so currently the Council Members earn $650 per month, with the Mayor getting an additional $300 on top of that.

The council directed Vasquez to raise that to the maximum allowed of $1,600 per month, with an additional $1,000 for the Mayor. All were in favor, except for Council Member Paulette Francis, who felt that all members including the mayor should earn the same amount, “in the interests of equity.”

SB 329 increased the maximum amount of salary, based upon the population of the city that may be approved by an ordinance passed by the City Council,” reads the staff note. “The new salary amount for City Council Members in Gardena and all other cities of 50,000 to 75,000 population could be $1,600 per month.”

The item will return to the council in the New Year for a vote.

Later in the meeting, Action Item 16A saw the council unanimously approve a construction contract change order to Ruiz Concrete and Paving Inc. in the amount of $11,062.50 for the “Traffic Detour and Temporary Pavement for UPRR Improvements Phase of the Artesia Boulevard Arterial Improvement Project from Western Avenue to Vermont Avenue.”

Item 18A saw them, “Amend Purchase of Zero-Emission Buses to Include Purchase of Zero- Emission Bus Chargers a Revised Total of $9,134,691, and an Overall Program Total of $10,048,161.”

Finally, the Council passed Item 18B, to “Approve Purchase of a Two-Year Service Level Agreement with ABB for Electric Bus Chargers for $65,885 and a Project Total of $72,474.”