City Council Compensation & Reimbursement

City Charter section 703 states that the Mayor and each member of the council should be paid monthly for their service. A Citizen’s Salary Setting Commission was established to meet every even-numbered year between March 1 and April 30 to recommend the compensation it deems appropriate for the Mayor and members of the Council.


The limitations set by the City Charter states that the salary of the Mayor may not exceed 50% (50%) of the salary of a Judge of the Superior Court of Stanislaus County. The salary of a Councilmember is not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the median family income for the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area as reported by the United States Census Bureau.

Salary Recommendations

In 2010, the Salary Setting Commission met and maintained its original recommendation of the following salaries:

  • Mayor - $3,600 monthly or $43,200 annually
  • Councilmembers - $2,000 monthly or $24,000 annually

This recommendation was approved by the City Council on April 27, 2010.


The City does not contribute toward medical, dental or vision benefits; however, the Mayor and Councilmembers may purchase coverage under the City’s employee benefit plans. Compensation is reduced by one-fourth for each regular meeting of the Council not attended each month, unless the absence is due to official duty with consent of the rest of Council.

Public Agency Retirement System

The Mayor and Councilmembers participate in the Public Agency Retirement System (PARS). This plan is required for all part-time employees in lieu of Social Security, with the Councilmember contributing 3.75% and the City contributing 3.75%. The Mayor and Councilmembers must enroll in PARS, with the only exception being Councilmembers who are currently receiving a California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) pension.

ICMA Deferred Compensation Plan

The Mayor and Councilmembers may also participate in the ICMA Deferred Compensation plan on a voluntary basis. The City does not make a contribution to this plan.


The Mayor and Councilmembers are allowed to receive reimbursement for expenses incurred while performing official duties as long as documentation is provided in the same way in which employees of the City are required to submit for reimbursement. Expense reimbursement requires a receipt and may include actual telephone, fax and cellular expenses incurred on City business. Reimbursement of up to $45 per calendar month, with appropriate documentation, for internet service provider charges is also allowed for the email and internet communication from their residence or via PDA for official City-related business.

Mayor & Councilmember Salaries

  • Mayor Sue Zwahlen
    • Annual Salary: $43,200
  • Councilmember Rosa Escutia-Braaton, District 1
    • Annual Salary: $24,000
  • Councilmember Tony Madrigal, District 2
    • Annual Salary: $24,000
  • Councilmember Chris Ricci, District 3
    • Annual Salary: $24,000 
  • Councilmember Bill Zoslocki, District 4
    • Annual Salary: $24,000
  • Councilmember Jenny Kenoyer, District 5
    • Annual Salary: $24,000 
  • Councilmember David Wright, District 6
    • Annual Salary: $24,000