Aurora, CO

Aurora City Council won’t ask voters for pay raise

David Heitz
Aurora City Hall.Photo byCity of Aurora

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Aurora, Colo.) The Aurora City Council rejected during a study session Monday council member Angela Lawson’s proposal that members of the dais become full-time employees of the city with full-time salaries.

Lawson wanted to ask voters whether council members should be considered full-time employees. Lawson said the current part-time pay precludes many people from serving on council. “A lot of people who want to be public servants, they can’t. They can’t afford it.”

Lawson said she has worked on getting pay raises for Aurora City Council members for at least two years. But the conservative council has opposed the idea. Lawson and city staff believe council members should make in the neighborhood of $70,000 annually. The council currently makes $20,063 per year.

Most council members oppose pay increase

Council member Francoise Bergan told Lawson “I understand where you’re coming from” adding “it can come back with refinement.” She said she worries council members who already have full-time jobs may not want to work two full-time jobs.

Council member Crystal Murillo said she agrees that serving on the council is a full-time job. “For (Colorado’s) third-largest city and growing, it’s not sustainable to have a part-time council.” She said she would not work two jobs if she didn't have to.

Council member Danielle Jurinsky said she does not view serving on the council as a job but more of “citizen service,” adding “I can't imagine where out of the budget all of this money would come from to pay us all.”

Partisan elections also voted down

Jurinsky and council members Dustin Zvonek, Steve Sundberg, Bergan, Mayor Mike Coffman, and Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Gardner voted against Lawson’s proposal.

Lawson stressed that her push to make council members full-time officers of the city is not related to the movement for the strong-mayor form of government. The council also voted against a proposed ballot measure by council member Juan Marcano that would have made Aurora elections partisan.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

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