Kettering is the latest local city to consider pay raises for its elected officials, but the percentage is less than increases proposed in Beavercreek and Huber Heights.
Kettering’s plan calls for a 5 percent increase total, phased in over two years, if approved.
In Kettering’s case, the increases would come about 7 years after voters decreased pay of council members.
Earlier this month, Beavercreek City Council approved by 5-1 vote an 80 percent increase of members’ salaries for terms starting on or after Jan. 1, 2020.
The Huber Heights plan calls for a 125 percent increase for council pay and 61-percent increase for the mayor. Rates for those jobs have not been increased in decades.
The Beavercreek measure increased council members’ annual salaries from $6,000 to $10,800. Councilwoman Melissa Litteral voted against the measure.
Councilwoman Julie Vann initially proposed a 100 percent increase when the ordinance was first introduced.
“In the future, I think we need people to realize that if they serve on City Council, their time and their talent and being engaged, it’s not just a board meeting where you show up and vote,” Vann told the Dayton Daily News.
Huber Heights officials will vote on a pay raise for the mayor and city council members on May 13. The pay raise would not go into effect until members are elected to new terms.
Under the plan, city council members would be paid $675 per month, up from the current $300 per month. The last time city council received a raise was in 1997, when pay increased by $50 a month.
The Huber Heights mayor would be paid $1,000 per month under the plan, compared with $621 now. The mayor’s salary has not increased since it went into effect in 1985.
“It doesn’t affect me or current members of council unless we run for re-election,” said Mayor Jeff Gore.
Kettering city officials plan to present an ordinance to raise council pay. The ordinance will raise pay of the four district council members from the current rate of $8,000 to $8,200 beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, then will go up to $8,400 on on Jan. 1, 2021.
Councilman Rob Scott said at a recent work session that any pay raise should be approved by voters.
Prior to 2014, pay for both Kettering council members and the mayor was included in the city’s annual personnel pay ordinance, usually passed in December for the following year. Council’s pay was normally increased by the same percentage increase as other city employees.
In 2012, voters approved an amendment to the city charter that lowered the pay for council and the mayor. The mayor’s compensation was set at $12,000, starting in 2014. It had been slightly more than $23,000.
Pay for council members was set at $8,000 after the amendment passed. It went into effect in 2014 for 2 at-large council members and started in 2016 for four district council members.
Their pay had been set at slightly more than $15,000. The pay reductions took effect once the current terms of the then-elected officials expired.
The first reading of Kettering’s new pay ordinance is planned for May 14 and the second reading on May 28.
Christopher Devine, assistant professor at the University of Dayton, said it’s difficult to generalize about pay raises in local government.
“So a pay raise that makes sense in one community may not make sense in another, or it may prove to be too much or too little,” Devine said. “One thing we can say, as a general matter, is that voters do not like hearing that any public officials, local or otherwise, are thinking about raising their pay.”
He added that voters tend to assume, even without knowing how much public officials are paid, that they must be overpaid.
“But that is not always the case. Sometimes public officials, especially at the local level, may not make much money - or, at least, their pay may not be keeping up with inflation since the last increase,” he said. “And, whatever the merits of any particular proposal, it is worth considering that - in government, as in most jobs - there is likely to be a relationship between compensation and the quality of the individuals who seek and eventually get a certain position.”
Jerri Hall, a compensation expert with HRC Consulting Services, spoke in general about wages, saying cost-of-living adjustments and pay raises for any employee — whether it be in the public, private or non-profit sector — helps the employee’s contribution to the organization.
“Good, competent workers are the backbone of any organization,” Hall said. “I have looked at many reports regarding pay and performance, and the trend is to offer reasonable compensation in order to keep good employees.”
A measure to give West Carrollton City Council members their first pay raise in more than two decades was soundly defeated in 2017. The proposal to increase council members annual salary from $3,000 to $4,000 was rejected 6-1.
Beavercreek conducted a detailed analysis of elected officials’ pay around the region.
“The average compensation for the area (excluding Dayton) is approximately $6,400 for council members and $9,000 for the mayor,” the report states.
Of the 27 jurisdictions surveyed in the report, only two have the mayor and council members receiving the same compensation (Beavercreek and Tipp City).
Of the 27 jurisdictions surveyed, l l provide additional benefits (medical, dental, life, and vision) to the mayor or council members. Of these only two offer benefits similar to the jurisdiction’s full-time staff.
The current Ohio Public Employees Retirement System established minimum salary for a full year of service is $660 per month.
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