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City Council Votes Against Pay Raise For Mayor

Written by: Communicator StaffDecember 09, 2014

Justin Dials

On Dec. 9 the Fort Wayne City Council voted not to give the annual 2% pay raise to the mayor and city council for the coming year.

The vote passed by a margin of 6 votes to 3 in favor of keeping the wage of city council at its current amount of $22,279 a year, as well as keeping the mayor’s annual salary at $128,593.

An amendment was later added to the original vote against the pay increase allowing City Clerk Sandy Kelly to retain her 2% pay increase.  The vote to retain the annual 2% raise for the city clerk was unanimous.

Many of the councilman stated that the main reason for not giving themselves a pay increase is because it is awkward to vote on your own salary, fearing the public’s reaction.  To which Councilman Bender said “I think the best time to do this is at the end of the term when the next council is going to be seated.”  This is so their vote will determine the salaries of the next set of city council representatives and not necessarily themselves.  Councilman Paddock also stated that it would be best for the council to wait until next year, saying he feels more comfortable voting for the future city council, whoever that may be.

Councilman Paddock said that he has always voted in favor of the 2% increase in years past because “if you don’t do it for 10, 20 years and then vote yourself a 25% raise people get upset.” Councilman Paddock went on to say that he is voting against the 2% raise this year because the city council of Fort Wayne is the highest paid in the state.

In addition to the city council being the highest paid, Mayor Tom Henry is also the second highest paid mayor in Indiana.  This was also given as one of the reasons not to give the annual 2% increase.

Councilman Paddock also stated, “frankly I’m not sure we deserve a pay raise when there was a strong contingency here to take some collective bargaining rights away.”  This was in reference to the June 24th vote to end collective bargaining for 574 non-public city employees.  This statement was met with a round of applause by the public in attendance of the meeting.

The raise would have consisted of $400 a year raise for each city council member and councilman Didier expressed anger at the fact that the council spent half of their meeting over such a small amount of money.  Councilman Didier voted against giving city council the pay raise.