CAPE CORAL, Fla. — At a City of Cape Coral council meeting, the council approved a stipend that will pay council members $40,000 more a year, and $60,000 more a year for Mayor John Gunter.
During public comment, several people voiced their opposition to what would be the council's ultimate decision.
On Thursday, council member Tom Hayden spoke with Fox 4 about the stipend and why he says it has to do with the growth of the city and the added duties that come with it.
“Stipends exist in other councils they exist in businesses across the country they exist in education with let's say a high school football coach that teaches he may receive a stipend for the extra duties that he performs,” said Hayden.
The stipend essentially doubles the salary for most council members and Hayden said the pay increase allows him to give even more time to his council duties.
“I believe council members should be spending as much time on the job as they possibly can. And the stipend now allows me to look at my expenses and know that over this next year, I can devote pretty much all my time to council duties,” said Hayden.
Hayden said right now he spends between 20-40 hours a week dedicated to those council duties.
After the latest uproar at a city council meeting,Hayden said that extra time could be spent regaining public trust.
“Last night a lot about restoring trust in council. I think we are always working towards that goal and you do that by continuing to work with the community on various issues," said Hayden.