Saturday, December 08, 2001

Council members question pay raises

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — City Council members have asked the city attorney to investigate the propriety of raises that former City Manager James Patrick, pressured out of office a week ago, ordered on his last day of work.

        Nine employees — mostly department heads — were bumped up a pay grade in an administrative order Mr. Patrick issued Nov. 30, according to documents the Enquirer obtained through a public records request.

        The merit raises come to about 3.5 percent each.

        “It just looks funny that it would happen on his last official day,” Vice Mayor James Reinhard said Friday.

        Mr. Patrick agreed Nov. 29 to resign in exchange for a year's pay, ending a bumpy 2 1/2-year tenure that included his July indictment on felony char ges of aiding and abetting theft in office.

        Beneficiaries of the raises included: Acting City Manager Pat Clements, to $75,815; Police Chief Ken Burns, to $70,622; and Information Technology Director Don Senteney and Electric Department Director Shawn Coffey to $70,774 each. The city manager's secretary also received a pay boost, to $48,164.

        “Some (of the raises) may be valid,” Councilman Ben Cole said. “But it would have been better if (Mr. Patrick) had told somebody. Anybody.”

        The employees would normally have gotten reviews and merit raises in December or January.

        Meanwhile, council on Tuesday will consider giving every city employee a 3 percent cost-of-living raise, instead of the 2.6 percent raises called for in the 2002 budget passed by the previous council last week.


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