As we noted a couple of weeks ago, Prairie Village stands out among northeast Johnson County cities for its lack of pay for members of its City Council and mayor. Payments for council members range from as low as $1,800 a year in Fairway to as much as $5,100 in Roeland Park. In Prairie Village, each councilor receives an annual check for $1 – which is quickly canceled.
Budget hawks would suggest that the Prairie Village model is in the best interest of the taxpayers because it keeps costs as low as possible. And if Prairie Village can fill a city council with people willing to do the work for free, why pay?
But others might argue that the lack of compensation dissuades the best possible candidates from seeking office. A good councilor should be spending several hours a week fielding inquiries from constituents, carefully preparing for council meetings, and likely serving on additional committees. It’s not unfair for them to expect some financial consideration for their efforts.
What do you think? Would paying councilors in Prairie Village attract more qualified candidates to seek office? Or would it be an unnecessary cost? Vote and then share your thoughts in the comments section.