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Published: Friday, 3/15/2013

TOLEDO

City council, mayor might get more pay

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Four years after it was reduced in the throes of a revenue crisis, the Toledo mayor’s salary might be raised.

A commission mandated by the city charter voted on Thursday to recommend restoring the Toledo mayor’s salary to $136,000 for the next mayor and to raise the salary of council members from $27,500 to $32,500 a year. The president of council would continue to receive a stipend of $4,500.

The recommendation now goes to Toledo City Council for final approval. It can be accepted, rejected, or amended, but council must act by June 1.

Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson said council will study the recommendation, but added that shedidn’t know when it might come up for a vote or how council will vote. She said being on council is more than a part-time job.

The Salary Review and Recommendation Commission is established in the City Charter and meets once every four years.

If raises are approved, they would be applied to officials elected in November, which includes the mayor and at-large council members.

District council members would have to wait until after being elected, or re-elected, in 2015 to receive the pay raises.

The mayor’s salary was reduced from $136,000 to $122,400 four years ago when Democrat Carty Finkbeiner was mayor, and the reduced salary was paid to the current mayor, independent Michael Bell.

The commission voted 6-0 for the revised mayoral salary. The pay-raise recommendation for council members was approved 5-1 with Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook casting the sole no vote.

Mr. Stainbrook said that the economy has not recovered enough for long enough to justify future increases to council's pay.

“This is about public service. It's not about a paycheck,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

Other members present and voting were Mark Sobczak, a former councilman who represents the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO on the commission, and who chaired the meeting; Betsy Dieball of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce; Mary Karazim of the League of Women Voters, Michael Alexander of the NAACP, and Yvonne Harper, executive director of the Lucas County Democratic Party. Robert Torres of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was absent.

Toledo had the lowest council salaries in a survey by the commission of regional cities that included Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, Dayton, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee.

The only city in the survey with lower council salaries was Fort Wayne, Ind., with $21,842 per year. Pittsburgh (at $108,131) and Dayton ($44,470) both had lower mayoral salaries, according to the survey.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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