Posted: 9:53 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, 2012

Voters to decide on pay, term limits for mayor, council



By Terry Morris

KETTERING —

Kettering voters will decide Nov. 6 on two charter amendments that would limit consecutive terms in office for Kettering’s mayor and city council members and cut their pay.

Issues 28 and 29 were placed on the ballot as a result of efforts by a group called Citizens for a Better Kettering, who collected the signatures of qualified voters on petitions submitted to and approved by city council and the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

There is no current limit on the number of consecutive terms elected officials can serve. In September, council voted to freeze current pay until after the election, but under the city charter, raises for elected officials previously have been granted whenever the city’s other part-time, non-union employees receive them.

If approved, Issue 28 would require a mayor or council member to sit out at least one four-year term after serving two consecutive four-year terms in either or both offices. It would take effect beginning with the next election. Current terms would not be counted against those in office now.

The pay amendment, Issue 29, would reduce the mayor’s salary from the current $23,383 to $12,000 per year, beginning with the next term of office — either Jan. 1, 2014, or 2016. Council pay would be cut from $15,843 to $8,000.

John Huheey,who along with Ron Alban is among the leaders of CBK, prefers the term “term rotation” for what Issue 28 would mean. “It would ensure a periodic infusion of new ideas on Kettering City Council, reduce the power of incumbency and make council more responsive to citizens.”

He said the city “is in dire need of new ideas. Many residents are in financial distress. We are experiencing our fifth decade of population decline and job loss.”

On Oct. 9, council voted 5 to 2 to approve a resolution urging citizens to reject both amendments. Members Ashley Webb and Rob Scott cast the no votes.

Regarding the need for “new faces and new blood,” Mayor Don Patterson pointed to the years of service of current council: Ashley Webb (at-large council member) has been in office less than four years; Rob Scott (District 1), nine months; Joe Wanamaker (District 2), less than nine years; Amy Schrimpf (at-large and vice mayor), less than four years; Tony Klepacz (District 3), less than five, and Bruce Duke (District 4), 25 years.

“Mr. Webb defeated an incumbent, Mr. Wanamaker defeated an incumbent, Ms. Schrimpf defeated an incumbent and Mr. Duke defeated an incumbent” to win election,” he said. “It can be done.”

Besides reducing mayoral and council pay by almost half, Issue 29 would require that elected officials’ raises be approved in a a separate ordinance and could not take effect during the current term.

A group called Protect Kettering’s Future has formed to oppose and campaign against both issues.

Charles Shanesy, one of the leaders of Protect Kettering’s Future, said Issue 28 would have a “deadening” effect on government in the city. Requiring an elected official to sit out four years after two consecutive terms “limits my power in the community to vote for whoever I want to vote for. I have a problem with that,” he said.

He said CBK “wants to change the agenda for its own agenda, not for the good of the community. They want to undermine city government so they can install their own candidates.”

Shanesy believes the mayor and city council “are worth every penny and more. We pay them 28 cents a year, per resident. If these issues pass, the city will go downhill quickly.”

Specifically regarding Issue 29, CBK member Kathleen Neiheisel said, “Good stewardship should start with city council. Current pay has Kettering at the top of three area communities and three townships with similar populations. We are a city of volunteers. Having our council pay out of line sends the wrong message to our army of volunteers.”

Council member Duke said Issue 29 “would put Kettering near the bottom, per capita, in council pay. Presently, we are near the middle, and we are the second biggest city in Montgomery County.”

Duke also said that a city charter commission imposed term limits on Kettering’s mayor in the late 1970s, but reversed that ordinance in the early 1990s, “because it didn’t serve the city very well.”

Schrimpf said Klepacz and Duke have launched an official city council review of how pay is set and whether changes are needed in the future.

To read Issues 28 and 29 as they will appear on the ballot, go to http://www.mcohio.org/boe/upcoming_elections/issues.html

For more information about Citizens for a Better Kettering, go to www.betterkettering.com. Protect Kettering’s Future has no website. The group’s treasurer is Kettering citizen Charlene Dutton.

As of Oct. 17, CBK reported receiving $5,236 in campaign contributions. Most were from Kettering residents, although others live in Dayton, New Carlisle, Centerville, Beavercreek, Solon and Glendale, Ohio.

Protect Kettering’s Future had reported only $225 in contributions, although CBK’s Alban questioned that amount and the leadership and funding of the group.


Issue 28

Would require a council member or mayor to sit out at least one four-year term after serving two consecutive four-year terms in either office or a combination of the two.

Current terms would not be counted. The law would take effect with the beginning of the next term of office.

Issue 29

Effective with the beginning of the next elective term — either Jan. 1, 2014, or Jan. 1, 2016 — the salary of the mayor will be set at $12,000 and the salary of council members will be $8,000. Current pay levels are $23,383 and $15,843.

Council may change the compensation of its members or the mayor by an ordinance adopted by June 1 in any odd-numbered year. No increase can take place during the term in which the vote is taken.

 

 

COMPLETE COVERAGE

The presidential and U.S. Senate races may be getting most of the attention, but there are more than 100 candidates and a lot of school levies and other tax issues on the November ballot in our area. In the coming weeks, we will take a look at most of the races and issues on the ballot and try to bring news to you to help you make an informed decision.

You can get in-depth information on the races and issues in your area with our interactive online voters guide. You can create your own ballot, pick candidates and more at DaytonDailyNews.com/go/vote

 

 
 

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