Minimum Wage


Flagstaff voters twice approved an increase in the local minimum wage, including the elimination of the sub-minimum wage for servers. What can the city do to ensure that this initiative is successfully implemented? What strategies do you have for addressing some of the concerns related to this initiative?

 

Paul Deasy:

Certain Councilmembers should accept the fact that the local minimum wage voted on by the voters twice is here to stay. Yet again in mid-June Councilmembers Jamie Whelan and Regina Salas attempted to place on the agenda a discussion to prevent the minimum wage from going to $15 on January 1st, 2020 but they did not get the support of a third councilmember so their effort failed. I do not think it is good for our city elected leaders to continue to try and undermine the voter approved minimum wage law. My biggest concern about the law is the impact it will have on the ability of providers of services to the developmentally disabled. Many of these organizations rely heavily on Medicaid vouchers, and these vouchers do not increase with the local minimum wage. Coordinating efforts with other cities to lobby the state legislature to employ a cost-of-living adjustment for the vouchers could go a long way in retaining these services in the Flagstaff community.


Charlie Odegaard:

The minimum wage is the law of the city. I know my colleagues dangerously legislated a postponement of it’s implementation. I was the lone no vote. In my opinion a legislative body cannot overturn what the citizenry voted for. The citizens in 2016 voted for a $2 increase of what that State was and my colleagues at the time took it away. Couple of my colleagues wanted to take a look at postponing the minimum wage which was set to go to $15/hr on January 1, 2021. I’m not in favor, for I don’t believe a legislative body overturning the will of the voters.


Jamie Whelan:

The Minimum Wage Act, (Initiative Ord. 2016-01 – Proposition 414), was voter approved on November 28, 2016. It is no longer an initiative. It is a law. The City Manager’s Office is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Ordinance and has designated responsibilities for implementation and enforcement to the Office of Labor Standards. I propose having regular meetings with the local business chamber, workforce placement agencies and other stakeholders to monitor how the increase in minimum wage is affecting our community overall.


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