Both are in their first year of service on the council.
They’ll replace current Mayor Charlie Powell and Vice Mayor Shawn Johnson after being sworn-in in January.
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Freel may wind up receiving a larger stipend than Powell and previous Casper mayors have.
The city council voted on first reading to increase the mayor’s stipend per meeting from $200 to $300, the maximum allowed under Wyoming law.
Freel abstained from the vote. Councilman Ken Bates voted no. Vice Mayor Shawn Johnson and Councilman Mike Huber were not in attendance.
Powell and former Mayor Ray Pacheco, a current councilman, both recommended in work sessions that the mayor’s stipend be increased to offset costs related to holding the position such as gas and time away from work.
Other city council members will continue to receive $150 per meeting under the proposal.
Citizen Roberta Mundell urged the council not to approve the stipend increases.
“You as a council should really consider the optics of the move,” Mundell said, saying that the additional money would amount to a 25-50% increase in salary. “Will the rest of the council think that they too will deserve an increase as well?”
“When you ran for office you new the compensation amount.”
She said that before considering any increase to the mayor’s stipend, the council should ensure that Casper has a sufficient fire and police force and should first fix pot holes across the city.
“We are not Denver, Salt Lake or Boise,” Mundell added. “We need you to lead with conservative priorities.”
Pacheco said that the duties of the mayor can be 20-30 hours extra beyond their regular career and reiterated that he was in support of the proposal.
Powell added that people on council tend to be older and that “it might just be enough to make a difference” to allow people with budgetary concerns to become involved in local government.
If you would like to contact members of the Casper City Council regarding this or any other issue, here is their contact information:
Mayor Charlie Powell (Ward II, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 577-6042
Vice Mayor Shawn Johnson (Ward II, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 337-5057
- (307) 277-7377
Councilman Ken Bates (Ward II, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 473-1247
Councilman Steve Cathey (Ward III, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 262-8237
Councilman Steve Freel (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 259-1276
Councilman Bob Hopkins (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 472-1837
Councilman Mike Huber (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 266-4188
Councilwoman Khrystyn Lutz (Ward I, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 359-3673
Councilman Ray Pacheco (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 258-1226
Council members can also be reached by mail at: 200 N. David Street, 82601
If you would like to contact members in your specific ward, but don’t know which ward you are in, a map is available at the City of Casper’s website.