Politics

Among low turnout elections across LA County, Compton voters reject salary increase

FILE: Compton Mayor Aja Brown would have seen a salary boost if voters approved the increase, but semi-official results from Tuesday's special election show more than 70 percent of voters rejected a pay raise for the mayor and City Council members.
FILE: Compton Mayor Aja Brown would have seen a salary boost if voters approved the increase, but semi-official results from Tuesday's special election show more than 70 percent of voters rejected a pay raise for the mayor and City Council members.
Frank Stoltze

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Compton voters have turned down a proposed salary increase for the city's mayor and council members in a big way: semi-official results from the special election held Tuesday show nearly 73 percent of voters rejecting a pay hike.

The ballot measure was one of about a dozen placed before voters around Los Angeles County on Tuesday, along with city council elections for some smaller cities and school bond measures. 

Early results show just under 10 percent of registered voters cast ballots — a continuation of a trend of low voter participation rates in local elections this past year. 

The next update on the vote count will take place on Friday, with final results expected later in the month. Turnout numbers are expected to rise slightly as the remaining ballots are counted. 

Voters also appear to have approved a school bond measure for the La Cañada Unified School District and rejected one for the Glendora Unified School District.

A full list of the semi-official election results can be viewed on the county's website.

The Compton pay increases would have brought the elected officials' salaries in line with median household incomes in the city. Salaries for council members would have gone to $43,507 and the mayor's salary to $54,384. Since the measure failed, salaries will remain at $600 a month. 

“The only way they can increase is through a vote of the people," said Alita Godwin, Compton's city clerk.

Godwin said the salary rates have been as low as $75 a month in the past, but they have remained at $600 a month for at least the last 10 years. City Council members also receive a $650 a month car allowance, according to Godwin, and about $200 a month for cell phone expenses. That's on top of other benefits, such as medical coverage. 

In rejecting the pay hike, voters may have remembered how, in 2015, the L.A. County District Attorney found elected officials illegally padded their salaries.

The Compton special election cost voters $107,000. Countywide, election officials estimated the cost of all elections at $5.2 million.