September 23, 1991
You have asked whether a municipality with a general law mayor-aldermanic charter may set the mayor's salary by amending the current budget (approved on July 1), and making the amendment retroactive to July 1.
While, not specifically prohibited, I do not believe that the mayor's salary may be set in an amending ordinance and made retroactive to July 1.
As you know, the newly revised mayor-aldermanic charter, effective July 1, provides for the compensation of officers as follows:
6-3-109. Compensation. The compensation of all officers shall be established in the ordinance adopting the annual budget and capital program. The compensation of the mayor may not be diminished during the term of office.
The language of the charter specifies that the salary is set in the adopting ordinance, at the time the budget is initially established. I think this provision requires that the salary be set on July 1, or whenever your budget is adopted. It would be my interpretation further, that, while a budget can certainly be amended during the fiscal year, the mayor's salary may not.
The intent of this provision was to allow the municipality some flexibility in determining whether the mayor would be full or part time and to set the appropriate compensation based on that determination. The board is then free to determine the additional personnel needed for the efficient operation of the municipality. The committee was of the opinion that these decisions should be made at the same time the budget is established. In this way, the citizens and the mayor are on notice as to both the duties expected to be performed, and the salary to be received, by the mayor, for that fiscal year.
If you have further questions or concerns about this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.