Monday, February 10, 2003

Fairfield argues manager pay

Extras add up to 13.6% increase

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD - City Council is expected to approve a 13.6 percent increase in salary and retirement benefits for City Manager Art Pizzano today.

But at least one member of council thinks it's excessive.

"He's doing a fine job, but I don't believe in giving extraordinary treatment to any employee," said Councilwoman Jill Kinder. "The average pay increase for all of our other employees was 3 to 5 percent. This package is a total increase of 13.6 percent over last year's. That's unreasonable."

Pizzano's base salary would grow 4 percent from $114,738 in 2002 to $119,328 this year. Council members also propose boosting his retirement pay $11,772 a year for the next five years by buying out-of-state credits for government service.

Pizzano's annual compensation package, including benefits, would grow to $190,662.

By comparison, Cincinnati City Manager Valerie Lemmie gets $176,000 in base pay and $193,000 in total compensation.

The retirement credits alone would be worth $58,860 to Pizzano.

Kinder said she plans to vote against the contract.

"This package is a sweet deal for him," she said. "Every job has a wage ceiling, and I think this package takes us above that."

Pizzano, 53, has led Fairfield since 1998 and oversees a $50 million budget and 240 full-time and 150 part-time and seasonal employees.

"I'd like to think Fairfield derives some positive and very direct benefits from my 30 years experience in local government," Pizzano said. "It is kind of the beginning of this whole rebirth of a suburb, so it's an exciting time to be here."

Most City Council members are happy with Pizzano, widely crediting him for revitalizing Fairfield's aging image with a new downtown that has become a Tristate model for good planning.

"I feel very comfortable with Art's compensation when you look at the job he has done, the tremendous progress the city has made in his tenure and in his leadership," Councilman Mark Scharringhausen said. To pay the extra money into his retirement, Council is expected to pass a resolution at today's 7 p.m. meeting. In other business, Council is expected to discuss whether sharpshooters should be hired, as the police chief recommends, to control the coyote population.


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