CIRCLEVILLE – The ink was barely dry from a ordinance originating from Compensation Study Committee that Tom Spring is a member, to raise the mayors pay a unprecedented 40% when Tom Spring filed as a candidate for mayor.
UPDATE: People have questioned the timeline. The raise was voted in unanimously at the end of December 2018, Spring officially put in papers the beginning of February 2019. To turn in paperwork you need 75 signatures also prior to turning in your documents. There was approximately 5-6 weeks total.
During the City Council Meeting on September 4, 2018, Councilwoman Michelle Blanton gave a report from the Compensation Study Committee Meeting that took place on August 29,2018. The meeting was for the purpose was to compare the Ohio Municipal Salary Survey to the salary levels in the city of Circleville. The proposal was to specifically increase only the mayor’s part-time salary from 37,000 to 52,000 dollars a 14,000 increase for the mayor. This didn’t go over well with most members of Council and the Current Mayor Mcllroy argued that this wasn’t the time for this, but Spring and Blanton made their case to why this was needed immediately, saying that this was needed before election to attract more perspective mayors to run.
The vote from the Council was to push the raise back to Compensation Study Committee to see if some sort of negotiation could happen as most of the council thought it didn’t send a good message.
“Why would are we raising the “CEO” position of a business when the city is in financial straits. People shouldn’t get raises when we can’t afford it,” said Councilwoman Hedges.
Council then asked to separate the other minor standard raises and vote on them separately so they could discuss the mayor raise in more detail. All other salary raises were standard 2-3% and passed through council unanimously, after council separated them from the controversial mayors raise.
During open talks about the 40% increase in the Mayors raise Councilman Tom Spring argued that the raise was needed to attract younger professional people into the part time Mayors position, that all of our recent mayors have been retirees and that is not good for Circleville, Councilman Spring is a retiree also.
Circleville’s Current Mayor Don McIlroy went on record of not wanting to raise the mayors pay saying that’s not why people run for mayor in Circleville. “I want to go on record that I do not think its necessary to raise the mayor’s salary. I didn’t get involved in running for mayor for the money. You guys have heard me comment on support staff that we need. I would recommend to not raise the mayor’s salary and do several different things instead. I would take one of our part-time people and move them up to full-time support staff. For example, our safety director who oversees two major departments in Circleville and make him full time.”
“To raise the CEO the Mayor of the City of Circleville and no one else? To me, it is sending the wrong message to the citizens of Circleville and Circleville employees. If I wanted to run for office again in November wage would not be a factor in running. With all due respect, I do not agree with just raising the mayor’s salary, when we could use that money in so many different areas,” said the Mayor.
The mayor continued by talking about the shortages in fuel for some of our city vehicles, “We are struggling to figure out how to pay for the gasoline in our vehicles after November, we are very strict with our budget. If you go back and ask any other mayor of this community what they made when mayor they probably couldn’t tell you what they made. We do not do it because of the salary we do it because of our high interest in our community. My official message as Mayor is this is the wrong message to be sent, thank you.”
Council eventually approved the Mayors raise with the stipulation that the raise would not take affect until 2022, originally the raise would have taken effect in 2020 after the election. This agreement was voted on and made about three weeks before cuts were made to fireman staffing, police staffing, and the lights in the parks were turned off to save money to put the city to black.
Speaking to Brad Pickett, independent running for Mayor he told Sciotopost that he didn’t even know what the mayor was paid, he isn’t running for a paycheck.