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opinion Brainerd,MN 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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What you're paying for
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

In a recent Open Forum, the question was raised as to what the citizens of Brainerd are paying for when they pay the salaries of city council members. I thought it might be helpful to share one council person’s information.


I take home $513.12 a month (payment stub dated 12/28/13). Council members receive no per diems and I take no health insurance package/nor do I ask the citizens to reimburse me for the costs I incur regarding my health.

During the month of December and into early January, 2014, here is how I have spent my time:

• Four regularly scheduled council meetings and committee meetings, each lasting an average of 4 hours per night

•Approximately 10 hours of reading and research of topics prior to each meeting

• Attendance/participation in special meetings dealing with topics like budgets, fire issues, negotiation, economic development, etc. During the month I am highlighting, these meetings have amounted to over 25 hours.

• Additional committee assignments for which there is no additional reimbursement — mine include Property Owners/Managers group, The Center and BPU. During the month I have devoted a minimum of six hours on these committee assignments.

• Phone calls, emails and visits with citizens have taken about 10 hours this month.

• Of course there are meetings with staff regarding various issues — probably 12 hours a month. I won’t factor the unusual events of interviewing and eventually hiring a new city attorney and a new city administrator.

Looks like over 100 hours during the December/early January time period at $513.12 in pay.

We try to work hard — council members are citizens of Brainerd, too!

What do you think — are you getting your money’s worth?

Bonnie Cumberland


Brainerd City Council

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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