Legislation would bump up salaries
Council member hopes measures would offset costs of serving, draw interest
The low number of candidates running in November for Grandview Heights City Council has led council President Steve Reynolds to propose that members' pay be increased starting in 2016.
Reynolds, who will leave council at the end of the year after deciding not to run for re-election this fall, said he is concerned that the council race will again be uncontested.
With four seats on the ballot this year, only four residents filed as candidates.
Council held its first reading Sept. 16 of ordinances, sponsored by Reynolds, that would boost the future pay of council members and of the mayor.
Increasing council's pay may help draw more people into the race, Reynolds said.
The first ordinance would increase council's pay to $12,000 per year beginning Jan. 1, 2016. All current council members would have run for re-election by that date, if they desired additional terms.
Since Jan. 1, 2004, council's pay has been set at $250 per month, with the council president at $300 per month.
It's doubtful anyone now serving on council ran for the pay, Councilman Ed Hastie said, and it's unlikely increasing the salaries would be a factor in future candidates' decisions to run.
Residents' unwillingness to put in the time and effort required to campaign for office and their concern about the time requirements once elected are more likely to be factors, he said.
Councilman Anthony Panzera said one of the reasons he supported the last pay increase was because of his concern the membership of council at that time did not represent Grandview's changing demographics.
At the time, council seemed to be composed almost entirely of residents who were either retired or were financially well off, he said.
"We have more of a working class council now," Panzera said.
"There is an actual cost" to serving on council because "when we're here, we're not able to make money" working toward regular jobs, he said.
The second ordinance presented by Reynolds would increase the mayor's salary to $37,100, effective Jan. 1, 2016; $38,200 in 2017; $39,300 in 2018 and $40,500 in 2019.
The legislation would also designate that after Jan. 1, 2016, the mayor would be considered a permanent part-time, 75-percent full-time-equivalent position, which would give the mayor the option to participate in the city's group medical insurance plan by paying the employee contribution.
Councilman Steve Gladman asked that the city attorney check to make sure such a provision is legal.
The ordinances were given a first reading and assigned to the planning and administration committee.