City council voted to freeze its pay and that of Mayor Don Patterson on Tuesday until a study can be made into whether the city charter should be adjusted to change how elected officials are compensated.
The action came just before council approved a pay ordinance with cost of living increases for most other city employees.
Under the charter, Kettering’s mayor and six council members have previously received the same percentage increases as other regular part-time employees. Current salaries are $23,383 for the mayor and $15,843 for the six members of council. Those were scheduled to rise to $23,499 and $15,922 under the half-percent raise granted to other non-union workers.
At-large council member Ashley Webb said last week he intended to offer an amendment removing the mayor and council from the latest round of increases, in light of two Nov. 6 ballot issues in Kettering that will ask voters to slash mayoral and council pay by about half and limit them to two consecutive terms in office.
But the similar amendment proposed during the meeting — and approved 7-0 — was introduced by Patterson.
“I’m extremely happy the amendment was accepted by council,” Webb said afterward. “It doesn’t matter how you get there, so long as you do the right thing. I felt like I was going to have to vote against the pay ordinance without that.”
Vice mayor Amy Schrimpf said she reconsidered her original opposition to altering pay practices before the city’s voters had their say in November.
District 1 councilman Rob Scott had said he would vote against the overall ordinance if it included a hike for council. “I’m very pleased to see council support something I’m an advocate of.”
Bruce Duke of District 4 said the decision was no indication that the city’s practices have been improper. “The Ohio Ethics Commission has reviewed our policies and deemed them proper.”
The mayor’s proposal includes a request for the city’s personnel and finance committee to study the compensation issue and recommend a change, if needed.
In response to a citizen’s request to make it easier to find information on the city’s website about salaries, Patterson also asked city manager Mark Schwieterman to study how to make those figures more accessible for the public.