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Published: Monday, 10/22/2012

Bell raises salaries of 55 top administrators, costing city $295,000 annually

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell raised the salaries of 55 top city administrators and lawyers — costing the city $295,000 annually, according to documents released today.

Mr. Bell and Toledo City Council have been locked in a battle for weeks over executive pay ranges for top city officials and lawyers. The mayor had asked council to increase the ranges but a majority of council refused. During the debate, some councilmen pointed out that the vast majority of the affected non-union city employees were not at the top of their pay ranges and could be given raises without any changes to the city code.

“At the suggestion of several members of council over the course of recent hearings, I have implemented salary adjustments within the ranks of city executive exempt staff,” the mayor wrote to councilmen.

“I regret the fact that some deserving employees cannot have their salaries raised, as they are already at the maximum of the pay ranges that have been in effect since 1998, a period of 14 years,” the letter said.

The police and fire chiefs have had pay increases during Mr. Bell’s administration.

Mr. Bell said it is unfair that unionized city workers have received pay raises while those in the management ranks have not.

“An example of the inequity between bargaining unit employees and executive exempt staff is the fact that, year to date in 2012, nearly $6.2 million in non-base was payments have been paid to the other city employees ... Step increase in contracts, based solely on years of service, approach $1 million in 2012.”

The raises include all three deputy mayors, Steve Herwat, Shirley Green, and Paul Syring — whose salaries all top out at $92,500. Nine city directors will be paid $92,000; six commissioners will be paid $77,500; one commissioner will be paid $77,000; two commissioners will be paid $75,000, and one commissioner will be paid $74,000.

Council on Oct. 9 rejected a compromise proposal that Mayor Bell had offered in an attempt to increase executive pay levels for 70 top city positions. Only two of 12 councilmen — Mike Craig and Adam Martinez — voted in favor of an amendment to the Bell administration’s original plan to increase the ranges 15 percent. Mayor Bell’s original proposal was then sent back to committee, where it is expected to stay.

The mayor said council’s inaction showed it didn’t care about those employees and that he wouldn’t “abuse those people” any longer.



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