Friday, December 14, 2001

Council gives itself a raise

Vote follows debate on propriety

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEER PARK — The first pay raise for City Council members in six years created a heated debate before it passed by a 5-2 vote this week.

        The dispute among the all-Republican council centered on whether a sitting council can vote itself a pay raise.

        Some argued that it was a violation of state law. Others said the next council — even though only three members will be newcomers — is technically a new council.

        Salaries were raised from $2,300 to $3,000. The council also bypassed its longstanding practice of having three readings on an ordinance before passing it.

        The pay-raise motion was declared an emergency, which means it becomes law in 30 days.

        Councilwoman Sandra Hall, who did not run for re-election in November, was one of the two voting against the raise.

        “I don't think council needs a raise now, with all the other things the city needs,” she said.

        The city is getting ready to build a $1.6 million City Hall to replace the 65-year-old municipal relic at 4250 Matsen Ave.

        But Mayor Dave Collins said the city can get the new building without added cost to residents and businesses. Money for the building will come from the city's general fund, which has been fattened recently after the city paid off its share in the purchase of the joint fire district building with Silverton.

        That money comes from a tax levy, passed in 1999.

        Councilman Joe Comer also voted against the raise.

        “While I don't think council did anything wrong in passing the pay raise, I just don't think we need a pay raise,” he said.

        “It comes to a 30.4 percent pay increase. We don't need that. We only met once in October and once in November. In the next two years, we are going to find out how expensive this raise is.”

        Voting for the measure were; Don Rohdenburg, who chairs the legislative and finance committee which brought the motion in; Andy Diehm, Ann Poole, Pat McGoron and Daryl Jackson.

        Mr. Jackson will also be leaving council Dec. 31.

        Mrs. Poole will also not get the raise because she leaves council after 12 years. She said she voted for it because it may help to attract more and better people to serve.

        “I am not saying the people who are on council are bad, but you realize we didn't have any Democrats to run in the last election,” Mrs. Poole said.


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