Duluth mayor explains decision to turn down $20K raise


Apparently Duluth Mayor Don Ness has enough to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

In an interview with the Star Tribune Wednesday, Ness talked about his decision to turn down a pay increase approved by the Duluth City Council Monday night that would have boosted his pay nearly $20,000, from $78,000 to $97,500.

"While any family could use a bit more, I didn’t feel it was necessary,” Ness told the paper. "I worried about my ability to adequately represent the people of Duluth while carrying the weight of this unusual salary increase."

Instead, the money will go into the city's general fund.

Ness, 39, and his wife, Laura, have three children, ages 8, 6 and 2.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the mayor said he and his wife came to the decision Tuesday morning at the breakfast table. He first posted his intentions on Facebook before calling a press conference Tuesday morning.

"After a long and prayerful night, Laura and I have decided not to accept the raise passed by the city council last night. I will explain my rationale later today, but I am absolutely convinced this is the right thing to do," Ness wrote on his Facebook page.

The mayor told the News Tribune that the decision reflected "our values and service to this community."

According to paper, Ness did admit turning down the money was "uncomfortable and a bit painful."

The News Tribune said the Duluth City Council has not taken up the issue of a mayoral raise for the past 14 years. The mayor said he is for the idea of the position getting a pay increase, but doesn't want the issue to be debated until after the next election.

Ness' current term expires in 2015, and he said he won't decide on a re-election bid until next year.

Ness, who began serving as Duluth's mayor in 2008, was elected to a second term in 2011.

Next Up


Full production winery set to open in Minneapolis this month

The couple behind Schram Vineyards Winery and Brewery is opening AxeBridge Wine Company in Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood.


Pedestrian killed in two-vehicle crash in Crystal

The incident happened just after noon.

Screen Shot 2021-03-04 at 1.45.48 PM

Foss Swim School opens its 9th Minnesota location in former Pier 1 store

The Eden Prairie based company has 22 locations across the Midwest.

police tape, crime scene

Charges: Minneapolis man kills woman, tells police to kill him

A convicted felon is accused of fatally shooting a 29-year-old woman on Feb. 28.


It's that time of year: Minneapolis offers deal on trees for property owners

The City Trees program sells trees for $25 from March 8 to April 16, or until trees run out.

coronavirus, covid-19, doctor

CDC report reveals how first cases of Brazilian COVID variant came to MN

Dozens of people had to be tested for the virus after the first and only two cases of the P.1 variant were detected in Minnesota.

stormking bbq

Black Sheep Pizza's owner, Rapids Brewing opening BBQ brewpub in Minneapolis

The brewpub is a new iteration of Jordan Smith's Texas-inspired StormKing BBQ restaurant.


U.S House passes 'For the People Act' in effort to expand voting rights

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces the challenge of the filibuster.

Stephen Weatherly

Vikings to bring back former DE Stephen Weatherly

Weatherly spent last season at the Carolina Panthers.