Payroll Project: Dayton Mayor pay spiked 53% last year

Pay for the office of mayor of Dayton spiked 53% last year because of a city charter amendment approved by voters in 2021, according to an analysis as part of the Dayton Daily News Payroll Project.

Dayton Mayor Jeff Mims was paid $84,910 in 2022, compared to the $55,654 paid to his predecessor Nan Whaley in 2021.

Dayton voters in 2021 approved an amendment to the city charter linking city commission pay to Montgomery County commission pay. Now the mayor makes 75% of the pay of the highest-paid county commissioner, and other city commissioners are paid 50% of county commission pay. Pay for county commissioners is set by state law based on the population of the county.

This also resulted in a smaller pay raise for other city commissioners. The average pay for city commissioners was $48,723 in 2021 and $59,659 in 2022, a 22% increase.

The charter amendment was a recommendation of a charter review committee that also rejected the idea of making the major’s position full-time, meaning Mims’ salary is for a part-time job.

“They get full-time work from me,” Mims told the Dayton Daily News in an interview this week. “The citizens said that’s what they want and they elected me knowing what the charter indicated so I’m comfortable with that (pay rate).”

Mims said as mayor he is a voice for city residents at the state and federal level — Mims advocates nationally for urban education policy as chairman of the National League of Cities task force on education — and an ear for city government to local residents.

“Having not just a pulse of what people want, but I get phone calls and letters and things like that and it’s comfortable for me to be out all over the city to listen to and talk to people,” he said.

After the 2022 pay raise, Mims is paid considerably more than other area mayors. A recent Dayton Daily News analysis found pay for suburban mayors ranges from $4,000 in Oakwood to $18,351 in Centerville.

Mims said it’s not apples-to-apples to compare the mayor of Dayton’s job with that of suburban mayors.

“They have challenges, but they don’t have the challenges we have that we’ve experienced in terms of job loss… the foreclosure criss, redlining, the aspect of unconstitutional underfunding that has had its most negative effect on urban schools,” he said.

Dayton’s mayor is paid considerably less than the mayors of Columbus or Cincinnati.

Mims was the city of Dayton’s 636th highest-paid employee in 2022, according to Payroll Project data. The city paid 317 employees more than $100,000.

The employer for government agencies is the voting and taxpaying public. As with any other employer, the public has not just a right but a responsibility to know how much its employees are paid in the interest of good stewardship.

Go here for a searchable database of state and local government pay across our region.

The highest paid Dayton city employees last year were:

1. Shelley Dickstein, city manager: $264,888

2. Joseph Landis, fire district chief: $194,653

3. Kamran Afzal, police chief: $189,430

4. Joseph Parlette, deputy city manager: $183,788

5. C. LaShea Lofton, deputy city manager: $183,576

6. Barbara Doseck, law director: $173,893

7. Kenneth Couch, human resources director: $170,791

8. Gilbert Turner, airport director: $169,000

9. Frederick Stovall, public works director: $168,791

10. Jeffrey Lykins, fire chief: $167,141

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