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Published: Tuesday, 11/19/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

Mayor-elect seeks higher salary for business development chief

Collins asks council to raise cap for position to $135,000

Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins
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Toledo Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins on Tuesday asked Toledo City Council to hike the salary range for the city’s next director of business development — a position he said would be confirmed by council.

Mr. Collins wants the salary cap increased from $92,500 to $135,000, which would be a 46 percent increase.

“I am only doing this to remain competitive with the market,” Mr. Collins said at the conclusion of council’s agenda review meeting Tuesday.

Mr. Collins said three people have applied for the position. He declined to identify the applicants but said the salary would not reach the proposed cap.

“I am not going to come in and ask for any other salary adjustments in terms of ranges,” Mr. Collins said. “This person will not have this position if council chooses not to confirm.”

The mayor-elect said all his cabinet-level hires and appointments to boards would face council confirmation.

The director of business development position would be in charge of economic development for the city, which is handled for the outgoing Bell administration by Paul Syring, the deputy mayor for external affairs.

Mr. Collins said salary caps for Toledo’s police and fire chiefs were increased in a similar way. The fire chief’s cap was raised in 2011 when council hiked the range to be $1,000 more than the highest-paid deputy chief.

A level of skepticism was voiced on council, which opposed raising executive-exempt pay ranges last year when Mayor Bell asked for those increases.

Councilman Rob Ludeman said council needs to know about Mr. Collins’ administration structure before voting on his request. He also asked how Mr. Collins arrived at the $135,000 figure.

Mr. Collins responded that a similar position in Cincinnati pays slightly more. “We didn't just pop this out of a pinata,” he said.

Councilmen Paula Hicks-Hudson and Joe McNamara also asked to know more about Mayor-elect Collins’ plans to cut staffing levels in the mayor’s office.

“For my support, I would like to see your budget,” Mr. McNamara said.

Mr. Collins’ campaign promises included slashing 30 percent from the mayor’s office budget, which in 2013 was $821,375. Mayor Bell’s proposed 2014 budget reduces it to $820,510. Mr. Collins’ promise requires him to cut it to about $575,000.

Earlier in the agenda review meeting, council studied a proposal to establish a regional water advisory board.

Public Utilities Director David Welch said the board, if created, would be subject to Ohio’s open meetings and records laws.

The purpose of the board is “to improve regional water cooperation,” the council ordinance said.

The board would consist of a minimum of 10 members from Fulton, Lucas, and Monroe counties; the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, and Toledo, Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Waterville, and Whitehouse. Each member community will select its own representative.

Council could vote to form the board at its next meeting on Nov. 26.

Council on Tuesday also reviewed spending $30,000 to hire a consultant to perform a safety study of Sylvania Avenue between Secor and Douglas roads.

Robin Whitney, Toledo’s public utilities commissioner of engineering services, said that stretch was targeted for the study because of its frequency of traffic accidents.

Sylvania from Secor to Douglas recently was ranked as the 10th most dangerous corridor for crashes in all of Lucas and Wood counties, according to city records.

The study would precede an application for an Ohio Department of Transportation Safety Funding Program grant that could cover the vast majority of construction to make the roadway safer. The study is required to apply for the grant, Ms. Whitney said.

Grant applications are due in April, 2014.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.

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