Prairie Village stands out among NEJC cities for lack of compensation for mayor, city council

Besides the self-satisfaction of contributing to the common good, what is the monetary benefit of being a municipal officeholder in Prairie Village and other communities in northeast Johnson County? Prairie Village stands out from its neighboring cities for its lack of payment for the mayor and city council members.

Free trips to the pool are among the few perks of being a member of the Prairie Village City Council.
Free trips to the pool are among the few perks of being a member of the Prairie Village City Council.

During the recent trial of Prairie Village Councilor David Morrison, he testified that Prairie Village only offers a stipend for communications, which he turned down. Prairie Village City Administrator Quinn Bennion verified that councilors and the mayor receive $1 per year for their city service.

In Prairie Village, the staff prints the check for $1, voids it and laminates it for presentation, so they really receive no pay. They are eligible for a taxable $25 per month communications stipend and a free pass to the municipal pool (which Morrison said he used).

The Prairie Village policy stands in contrast to the payments at other cities. In Mission, the mayor receivers $12,000 per year and each councilor receives $4,200. They also have access to the same $25 per month communications allowance and a pool pass.

In Roeland Park, the mayor receives $6,120 per year and councilors each receive $5,100. Those amounts reflect a 15 percent reduction from just a couple of years ago.

Smaller northeast Johnson County cities like Fairway and Westwood also pay. In Fairway, the mayor receives $3,600 and each councilor gets $1,800. In Westwood, the mayor receives $4,200 per year and councilors $3,000. The amount for the mayor is budgeted higher for 2014, but the council has not taken action yet to implement a raise.

Prairie Village is different in one other way, as well: It has far more city councilors than its northeast Johnson County peers. Prairie Village has 12 members on the council, two for each of the six wards, the same configuration as much larger Overland Park. Mission, Fairway and Roeland Park each have eight councilors as does larger Leawood. Westwood and Mission Hills have five members.