Thursday, November 16, 2000

Krings gets pay increase, bonus

Commissioners criticized for retroactivity, timing of vote

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County's top administrator received a 4 percent pay raise — retroactive to last December — and a $3,000 bonus Wednesday.

        County commissioners unanimously approved the raise, increasing Dave Krings' salary to $167,696.

        Commissioners also upped the taxpayer contribution to Mr. Krings' retirement account to more than $1,900 a month. That retirement account is in addition to the state's Public Employees Retirement Fund.

        Commissioners praised Mr. Krings for his work in putting together the county's $1.8 billion budget before approving the increase.

        But the raise comes in a year — 1999 — when Mr. Krings first learned of cost overruns at Paul Brown Stadium that would mount to $46 million.

        “To hang all of that on David Krings would be inappropriate,” Commissioner Tom Neyer said, referring to the stadium cost overruns. “The stadium project was far from perfect, but David's management of that process was not the only influence on it.”

        Commissioner John Dowlin said Mr. Krings' raise was decided “several months ago.” Yet the issue was voted on only Wednesday — one week after an election where Mr. Dowlin retained his seat and Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus was voted out of office.

        Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes blasted the commissioners for making the pay increase retroactive. He also questioned why the commissioners waited until a week after the election to approve Mr. Krings' pay increase.

        “That's slimy,” Mr. Rhodes said. “It appears to have been decided months ago and agreed to by the commissioners in private.”

        Mr. Krings' raise last year — also 4 percent with the maximum bonus allowed — came in May.

        Mr. Dowlin said he thinks Mr. Krings is one of the best administrators in the country and should be paid as such.

        “In essence, we've said he is worth the maximum,” Mr. Dowlin said.

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