February 20, 2019

When and how is compensation of city officers determined?

KRS 83A.070 requires that the compensation of elected city officers be set by ordinance by the first Monday in May in the year that the officer is elected, and cannot be changed during the officer's term in office. Note that cost of living adjustments are not considered “compensation,” and thus may be given during the term of office. The Department for Local Government (DLG) annually releases the maximum compensation that may be paid to elected city officers based on the consumer price index.

Compensation to be paid to all appointed (nonelected) city officers must be set forth in an ordinance, whether it is a sophisticated “personnel and pay classification plan” ordinance or the annual budget ordinance. Pursuant to KRS 83A.080, appointed (nonelected) city officers include the city clerk, city manager, city administrator, chief of police, fire chief (other than a volunteer fire chief), and any other appointed office as established by the city via ordinance. The compensation of appointed city officers is not subject to the same limits on changing compensation during a “term in office” that apply to elected officers. Therefore, compensation of appointed officers may be changed at any time by amending the appropriate ordinance.

For a copy of DLG’s current maximum compensation limits, please contact the KLC Department for Municipal Law and Training at 800-876-4552.

Compensation issues are fully discussed in the City Officials Legal Handbook.