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Duluth mayor turns down 25 percent raise

DULUTH -- Despite a City Council vote Monday evening to boost the salary for the mayor’s position from $78,000 to $97,500 — a 25 percent increase — Mayor Don Ness said he will refuse the raise.

“It’s been uncomfortable and a bit painful,” Ness said of the past week of discussion around the raise.

He chose to remain silent until the discussion was voted on by the council. He expected that whatever it decided would ease his comfort level around the topic.

“There wasn’t that sense of relief I was hoping for,” Ness said. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Any amount of a raise would have led to the same decision, Ness said. While he appreciates the council taking up the issue of mayoral pay, the first time it has been done in 14 years, he wants to see any raise come after his term is up.

“It’s been too long since this issue was addressed,” he said.

Chief Administrative Officer David Montgomery said after Ness’ announcement that the money Ness refuses simply will stay in the general fund.

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