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Published: Friday, 9/18/2009

Mayor trims his own pay cut

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's promise in May to reduce his own salary by 40 percent apparently had a time limit.

On May 9, the same day Mr. Finkbeiner called for city employees in five unions to accept 15 percent pay cuts for a year, the mayor vowed to cut his own annual $136,000 salary by 40 percent.

Thursday, the mayor, who refused to be interviewed on the topic, released a statement regarding his taxpayer-funded salary.

"Mayor Finkbeiner voluntarily imposed a 10 percent pay reduction upon himself for the better part of the first six months of the year," the statement said. "He pays back to the city treasury on a quarterly basis and has written checks totaling $5,000 through June 30th, including $2,000 to pay for police overtime for the July 4th weekend."

The statement went on to say that Mr. Finkbeiner would on Sept. 30 - the last day of the third quarter - reimburse the city again at a 40 percent pay reduction, but only for a "majority of the quarter."

The mayor decided on Sept. 1 he would return his own pay back to a 10 percent pay reduction - or $122,400 - "in order to meet his financial obligation to his attorney," the statement said.

"Mayor Finkbeiner, additionally, chose to pay, and is in the process of completing payment on a $47,500 legal bill to attorneys for their work on the recall initiative," the statement said.

"This bill could have been charged to the city, but the mayor is paying it himself. To date, the Mayor has paid $32,250 from his own pocket for legal fees and pays his attorney $750 each paycheck, twice a month until the balance of his legal obligation is satisfied."

Mr. Finkbeiner also confirmed that he had authorized city department directors to return to a 40-hour work week, ending the 32-hour work weeks begun in the spring to save money.

The mayor in June ordered about 25 nonunion staff members who have retired and were rehired and draw both pensions and salaries to take 40 percent pay cuts.

Also in June, he reduced the salaries of some nonunion employees and ordered them to work a 32-hour week, the equivalent of a 20 percent pay cut.

The mayor said in a separate statement that he returned the directors to full-time because the city administration has fallen behind in preparing the 2010 budget, due Nov. 15 to Toledo City Council.

"The extra eight hours per week is very much necessary to get the budget prepared. Some accepted and others chose to remain at a 32-hour week," the mayor said in the statement.

Mayor Finkbeiner added that a "handful" of city financial workers also could be called back to 40-hour weeks in the near future.

On Wednesday, Toledo Councilman Lindsay Webb criticized the mayor for offering to restore the salaries of top officials four months after he said they would be cut to help alleviate 2009 budget woes.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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