Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Lebanon workers to get bonuses

City manager may be included, but council divided

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — City Council approved bonuses Tuesday for all city employees and will consider a $10,000 bonus for the city manager, despite a tight budget.

        Council voted to approve the one-time bonuses for city employees, ranging from $750 for less than a year's service to $2,500 for more than three years. The bonuses were a thank-you for enduring a tumultuous couple of years that has resulted in no merit pay raises for some employees for the past two years.

        In the wake of a review of City Manager James Patrick in a closed-door session last week, council also heard legislation Tuesday to give him a $10,000 bonus “for his outstanding and exemplary service to the city of Lebanon over the past 12 months.” Council postponed discussion of the manager's bonus.

        The proposal has raised some eyebrows and even outright objections among a minority of council members and some city staff and residents.

        Councilman Ron Pandorf, who sponsored the measure, conceded Mr. Patrick doesn't have a long list of tangible accomplishments after almost 1 1/2 years, but he said just getting the city back on track after years of upheaval has been a big job.

        Mr. Patrick has taken a lot of criticism in his tenure, including work that a consultant performed for nine months without council's knowledge or approval. Mr. Patrick said he also did not know about the work even though the consultant said the city manager had attended three meetings in which it was discussed.

        Two members of council have sought several times to fire Mr. Patrick.

        One of those, James Reinhard, retaliated against the proposed bonus for Mr. Patrick with proposals Tuesday night for a $10,000 bonus for city attorney Mark Yurick and a $2,500 bonus for Greg Dixon, the city auditor for just a couple of months.

        “They're fairly equal employees of fairly equal importance to our city, and that's why they answer directly to City Council,” Mr. Reinhard said. “I won't support any of the three (bonuses). But if you're going to have one, you should have all three.”

        No decision had been made on those proposals at press time.


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