Reynoldsburg News

City auditor will receive 6-percent pay increase

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Reynoldsburg City Council voted 6-1 during its last meeting of the year Dec. 16 to give City Auditor Richard Harris a 6-percent salary increase.

Council also approved Mayor Brad McCloud's choice of Dan Havener as development director.

Councilman Scott Barrett said Harris has not had a pay raise for at least five years.

The auditor's annual salary since the beginning of 2009 has been $72,494.31.

"We know how much work Mr. Harris has done for us," Barrett said. "He has done exceptional work and has championed our city in other communities.

"Although our interim budget is less than ideal and we have infrastructure needs aplenty, I believe we want to keep this position competitive for the future," he added.

The 6-percent pay raise for 2014 will bring Harris's annual salary up to $76,843.64. He also will get 2-percent salary hikes in each calendar year from 2015 through 2017.

Councilman Cornelius McGrady III cast the only dissenting vote for the ordinance, which was approved as emergency legislation after one reading.

During a finance committee discussion two weeks ago, McGrady said approving a salary raise for an elected official sends the wrong message to taxpayers who rejected the city's request for an income tax hike last month.

"We don't know what our revenue is going to be next year," he said. "To do a raise of any sort after the defeat of the tax levy is sending the wrong message to taxpayers."

City Attorney Jed Hood said if council members wanted to give Harris a raise, they would have to act before Jan. 1, 2014, because the auditor's salary could not be decreased or increased after his new term began.

Councilman Barth Cotner agreed that the auditor's salary should be increased.

"As we move forward, though, we should keep in mind that our other employees and staff who do diligent work also do not get the pay they would get in other cities," he said.

In other business Dec. 16, council unanimously approved Havener to be the city's director of development. He has been serving as "acting director" since McCloud hired him Sept. 16.

"This is a pivotal position for our city," McCloud said. "I wanted to make sure Mr. Havener understood all of our challenges. In the few months he has been with us, he has become a vital cog in our city operations."

Havener was project manager for Shremschock Architects and Engineers for the past two years and before that, worked for Bob Evans Farms for 22 years, becoming director of engineering there in 2009.

He said the last three months in Reynoldsburg have been spent "reaching out to local businesses."

"My goal was to find out what our city could do for these businesses and to look for new businesses to come into our city," he said.

He said there has been interest in development at the Shoppes at East Broad, in Olde Reynoldsburg, on state Route 256 and in the Brice Road/Livingston Avenue corridor.

Council also bid farewell to Councilwoman Monica DeBrock, who was appointed in January to finish Nathan Burd's term as at-large council member. She lost her bid in the May primary to seek election to council in November.

Dan Skinner will take DeBrock's place on council when he is sworn in at the organizational meeting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6, 2014.

Barrett thanked DeBrock for her service.

"I think you have represented our city very well," he said.

Councilwoman Leslie Kelly said she met DeBrock years ago.

"I have admired your dedication and fierce loyalty and admire your commitment and dedication to helping our city be the best it could be," she said.

DeBrock said she has enjoyed being on council.

"We are at a crossroads in the city and I don't plan on going away," she said. "I think all council members truly believe we can see a better tomorrow in this city."