- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

KENNER, La. (AP) - Kenner officials are trying to increase the annual pay for the mayor and police chief by more than 50 percent.

City Councilman Keith Conley has proposed the pay increase ordinance, saying salaries for those posts were “stagnant.” He said the mayor and chief’s salaries have not been increased since 1997 and have not kept pace with surrounding municipalities, even those with smaller populations.

For example, Kenner has a population of 67,064, yet its mayor makes less than the mayor of Mandeville, which has a population of 12,500 and Gretna, population 17,802.

Mandeville Mayor Donald Villere’s annual salary is $103,703, while Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant makes $90,000, according to a chart provided by Kenner officials.

“Certainly after 20 years I think it’s time for us to address the issue, and at least have a dialogue about it, and get something moving on it,” Conley said.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1RCMgV1) the ordinance was introduced during Thursday’s City Council meeting. It comes up for a vote Dec. 3.

“The thought was that we need to get these salaries up and get them where they need to be so we can get qualified candidates to run for these offices and so that we can have these salaries to be the same as other municipal and parish wide offices throughout this region,” Conley said Friday.

The proposed change would be effective after the 2018 municipal elections. It also calls for automatic pay raises every four years starting in 2022.

Under the plan, the mayor’s pay - now $72,500 - would rise to $111,129; the police chief’s $68,500 salary would jump to $105,280.

Mayor Mike Yenni will be leaving office in January because he has been elected Jefferson Parish president. A special election to complete his term likely will be held in 2016. The police chief is Michael Glasser, who is eligible to run for re-election in 2018.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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