CIRCLEVILLE— Circleville City Council has approved an ordinance to increase compensation for elected officials.
Council approved the increase for city council president, auditor, treasurer, law director and council members following the next election cycle, for positions that begin in 2020. The increase will be two percent each year over the next four years.
“This ordinance does remove the pay increase for the mayor and just concerns all the other elected officials,” David Crawford, president of council, said. “If passed, this will take effect for 2020, more than a year away.”
The ordinance was passed on its second reading by a vote of 6 to 1 with council member Katie Logan-Hedges being the sole no vote.
A separate, second ordinance was referred back to the compensation committee during the meeting on the discussion of increasing the mayor’s salary significantly.
“In the compensation committee, we looked at like cities to ours and notice the salary of the mayor was lower than that of the average of the average of cities of like size,” Michelle Blanton, council member and chair of the compensation committee said. “We’ve discussed this multiple times. It was part of the ordinance we just passed. A motion was made to separate it into its own ordinance for further discussion of this body.”
Barry Keller, council member, mentioned he was the one who asked for the separation of ordinances.
“I want to have a discussion to say do we stick with the proposed pay increase or do we want to consider the pay increases for the other elected officials, which was two percent over a four year period, or a compromise somewhere in the middle” he said. “I just want to open it up for conversation to see if it is something we want to refer to the committee, amend on the floor, or leave as is. That was the purpose of pulling it from the compensation ordinance.”
Tom Spring, council member, spoke, noting the evidence that has been presented.
“To me, this is an indicator of whether this city can make tough decisions with respect to such inequities, competitions and reassessing the status quo,” he said. “There are other areas of the city that could use improvements, but we have to make tough decisions on how do we move forward and how we try to best position our community for the future.”
Council member Julie Strawser posed the question that should the ordinance not be passed if the compensation committee could reconvene and put forth a different ordinance.
“I think we could reevaluate it and discuss it if majority of council wants to see an increase,” she said. “In a personal opinion, whether it’s the percentage of increase where we are at. I think it’s very fair for the salary increase we’ve asked for in comparison to other people in this community of positions of authority and what they have to manage this is very reasonable for that positions in comparison to other CEOS and managers in the city.”
“I don’t think we can stay at the current rate for the position of the mayor,” Blanton said.
Keller made a motion to send the ordinance back to the compensation committee for a compromised rate instead of the rate increase of more than 20 percent from around $38,000 a year to around $52,000 a year.
That motion was passed by a 4-3 vote with Spring, Blanton and Strawser being the members who voted no.
Don McIlroy, Circleville’s mayor, has said at previous meetings he was not in favor of an increase for the mayor and asked for that money to be funneled in other directions.
“I want to go on record as saying that I think it’s not necessary to raise the mayor’s salary,” he said at a council meeting in September. “I didn’t get involved in running for mayor because of the money. You guys have heard me talk so much about the support staff that we need. I would recommend not raising the mayor’s salary and doing several different things instead. I would adjust one of our part time salaries and move them to full time support staff. I really recommend, and you’re going to hear me talk about this a lot, to take a part time position we have now, the safety director, who oversees the two largest departments we have, and make it a full-time [position].”