SAFETY: Crossing guards are among the city employees who may be in line for raises. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

SAFETY: Crossing guards are among the city employees who may be in line for raises. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

CITY HALL— Minimum wage for City Hall workers could get a little less minimal.

City Council is considering a living wage increase to $15.37 per hour that would impact at least 225 workers employed by City Hall.

The current living wage, which is honored by City Hall and its contractors, is $14.08 per hour but earlier this year council asked OTO — the developer of two moderately-priced hotels in Downtown Santa Monica — to pay its workers a higher rate.

“As this council has been supportive of a wage of $15.37 in the development agreements we’ve had, (Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day) and I think that we as a city need to also be paying this kind of wage to the folks that we employ,” Mayor Pam O’Connor said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

O’Day and O’Connor initially brought the matter before the council.

Currently, 186 employees make City Hall’s minimum wage and another 39 make less than the proposed $15.37, but more than the living wage, said Finance Department Director Gigi Decavalles-Hughes.

“For the most part, these are as-needed employees, some working more than one job,” she said.

Some of those making the minimum include crossing guards, library pages, police cadets and laborer trainees, she said.

There are 29 city workers, all in student jobs, making the California minimum wage of $8.

Council voted unanimously to have City Manager Rod Gould return with information about the impacts of a potential wage increase on Feb. 11.

If council votes yes, the wage paid to City Hall workers would more than double the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.

Lawmakers are currently considering an increase to that wage with congressional Democrats suggesting it be lifted nearly $3 per hour to $10.10.

While many of those working city jobs at the current living wage are not full-time employees, for those that are the increase would mean an extra $2,683 per year.

“We’re coming into a budget year and so the time was right for the conversation,” O’Connor said of her suggestion. “Our financial forecasts are good. (City Hall) is doing better than expected and if we can afford to do it we should.”

Councilmember Kevin McKeown expressed full support for raising the wage. The increase also means contractors who work with City Hall will have to pay. McKeown noted that he was fine with that consequence.

 

dave@smdp.com