Outgoing Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola is looking to collect handsomely from his time as the Mayor of Little Rock, while also setting it up so that it would be almost impossible for incoming Mayor Frank Scott Jr to collect the same rewards.
First of, credit where credit is due. Max Brantly has done some excellent reporting and followup on his Arkansas Times blog.
Essentially Stodola is looking to increase his annual pension dramatically right before he heads out the door, and looking to recoup a large sum of money from unused sick and vacation leave that is well above and beyond the carryover amount allowed.
Currently, Stodola is entitled to 8% of his $160,000 salary annually. This is a sliding scale that increases the longer he is in office and would net him $12,800 per year for the rest of his life with no cost of living increases.
He is pushing through a board vote tonight to give him 50% of his annual salary, plus annual cost of living adjustments, and spousal benefits meaning if he died first his wife would be entitled to his pension for the rest of her life. To make matters even more silly, he is seeking over $170,000 in pay from unused vacation and sick leave. This is well beyond the allowed 50 day carry over value which would be around $22,000 based on his current salary.
There is additional talk that he may seek for a salary raise before exiting too. The pension for the mayor is set from the salary rate for mayor on the day they leave office. So a bump would increase it even more.
If you want to break this down he is seeking $80,000 in annual retirement. Assuming he hits the average lifespan of 79 that is 10 years, and he gets a fairly standard 2.5% cost of living adjustment he would make $102,407 in the final year.
He will end up earning $1,085,033 in retirement, up from $128,000 under the existing plan. Plus the $170k+ he is requesting that is not currently granted.
Oh, and to sweeten the deal, he is making it where incoming mayor Frank Scott has almost zero chance to get the same level of benefit because they are making where a mayor under 60 would have to serve 20 years to receive that level of benefit. No mayor in the history of the city has ever served 20 years, not even close.
The measure is coming up to vote tonight, in what would traditionally be an agenda-setting board meeting. However, they are allowing issues to be voted after to a recess last week due to the run off election. Here is the official draft of the ordinance. At the time there is no mention of salary raises for Mayor, but that could still come up before the end of Stodola’s term.