Friday, January 19, 2001

Shirey won't get pay raise

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The harshest critic of Cincinnati's city manager offered him a raise and his most vocal supporter killed it.

        “I think he's paid enough,” Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken said after Thursday's council meeting.

        In a surprise move, Mr. Luken voted against giving John Shirey a $7,500 annual raise.

        Seconds after Councilman Charlie Winburn introduced a motion to give the manager a 3 percent cost of living increase, Mr. Luken shot down the raise by postponing it indefinitely.

        “I still think he does a good job,” he said. “It's just a lot of money.”

        Mr. Shirey, who was out of town, could not be reached for comment.

        Hired in 1993, Mr. Shirey oversees the daily operation of the city, which has 7,000 employees.

        But for nearly two years, his $149,000-a-year job has been beset by complaints from council members and controversies within his administration.

        In June 1999, council voted to raise his pay but suspended an evaluation until December. Since then, members have criticized Mr. Shirey several times for failing to keep them informed and for scandals involving city employees.

        Only three other council members — Paul Booth, Minette Cooper and John Cranley — agreed with Mr. Winburn. They were outvoted by the mayor and council members Pat DeWine, Phil Heimlich, Alicia Reece and James Tarbell.

        “I believe a raise should be given when someone is doing a good job, and I don't believe he is,” Mr. Heimlich said.

        At the same time, he said council doesn't support firing Mr. Shirey because it likely couldn't find a replacement before November.

        That is when the city will elect a strong mayor, who will assume many duties of the city manager.


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