London’s elected officials won’t be receiving raises, following action Thursday by city council.
Council voted 6-1 against giving a 3 percent increase for elected officials, beginning in 2020. London’s elected officials have not received a raise since 2008.
Currently, the city’s mayor is paid an annual salary of $30,000. The law director makes $70,000 and the auditor is paid $45,000. The treasurer and city council members make $5,000 each. The council president is paid $6,000.
Council member Trint Hatt said he is against the raises, which would have amounted to about an additional $150 annually for council members.
Even though the increases wouldn’t have gone into effect until 2020, it doesn’t look good to citizens, he said.
Council member Brenda Russell seemed on the fence prior to the vote. She said she wished the raises could be given to some elected officials, but not all.
Council member Dick Minner cast the sole vote in support of the raises. He has said it’s important to treat elected officials well so the city can attract and retain talented leaders.
Separate legislation calling for increasing the pay range of department heads by 3 percent has been tabled until the next meeting. Council members said they wanted the issue further discussed in a finance committee meeting.
Last November, council voted to enact ranges for those employees. Previously, salaries were set at one rate and did not allow discretion by supervisors.
But most department heads have already hit the maximum salary. Approval of the resolution would increase the range, but not necessarily award those raises, officials noted.
The topic of salaries came up as union contract negotiations concluded. All three of the city’s unions — police, fire and AFSCME, which includes street workers and employees in the auditor’s office, will get 3 percent raises in 2017.
Councilman Rex Castle said he’s hoping the raises would be given proportionate to performance, if the legislation passes.
“In business that’s the way it’s done,” he said. “We should stick to that.”
“It’s been that way far too long,” added council member Lora Long.
“I bet you won’t see much of a change,” Minner said.
Also on Thursday, council approved the following appointments, as recommended by Mayor Pat Closser:
• Bill Beathard, board of public utilities, term expiring Dec. 31, 2022
• Joe Mullins, historic district review board, term expiring Dec. 31, 2019
• Rob Treynor, historic district review board, term expiring Dec. 31, 2019
• Craig Jackson, parks and recreation commission, term expiring Dec. 31, 2019
• Joshua Clifton, civil service commission, term expiring Dec. 31, 2019
• Tom Arrington, civil service commission, term expiring Dec. 31, 2021
• John Stahl, tree commission, term expiring Dec. 31, 2020
• Andy Hitt, tree commission, term expiring Dec. 31, 2017
• Angela Eden, London metro housing, term expiring Dec. 31, 2021
• Bill Long, city properties committee, term expiring Dec. 31, 2018
• Rodney Lauer, city properties committee, term expiring Dec. 31, 2018
In other business:
• Auditor Nick Szabo addressed council with concerns regarding the 2016 budget. He said there were 14 areas in which estimated revenue was not met. He requested transfers from the general fund to cover some funds to close out the fiscal year.
• Castle addressed what he called a “very irritating” issue: continuous issues of dumping. Area donation bins and recently recycling bins have become public dumping sites for couches, mattresses and other unwanted items. Sometimes those items are bug infested.
“It’s a new year but the song is the same,” he said. “We have a trash problem.”
Castle called upon residents to contact the police department if they witness dumping. Minner asked if the city could request the owners of the bins to remove the structures. Closser said he would look into it.
Andrea Chaffin can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619 or via Twitter @AndeeWrites.