By Linda Dillman
The potential change in how the city governs itself dominated a lively discussion during Canal Winchester City Council’s March 6 work session.
Members tossed around ideas about mayor and council salaries and the inclusion of an administrator in the hierarchy. Voters approved adding an administrator position during the last round of charter updates.
The administrator was included in the current budget in case the position is created later this year. Debate during the work session focused on the merits of the present salary scale – including the administrator – with or without a full time/part time mayor.
Council discussed reducing the mayor’s salary in the event the administrator position is created and to whom the person reports to – the mayor or council.
“If the city administrator reports to council, that’s a charter change,” said Law Director Thaddeus Boggs.
Councilman Bob Clark said he would not consider paying the mayor the same salary as he makes now and adding an administrator.
“I think it’s time to move the city more forward to a professional position full time,” said Clark. “Someone who has more experience running a city than someone being elected and not having the experience.”
Councilwoman Jill Amos said council could reduce the mayor’s salary and move forward, but she questioned a full time administrator “reporting to someone (the mayor) who may or may not be in their office on a regular basis. That’s hard for me to grasp or sell to the general public.”
Boggs said, according to the city charter, the administrator would report to the mayor, regardless of how many hours the mayor spends in his office.
A majority of council favored reducing the mayor’s salary, which also includes a car and travel allowance, in the event the administrator’s position is created.
Council also discussed a three percent cost of living increase for themselves as long as the city staffers receive the same amount.
Boggs suggested drafting three separate ordinances – one for the salary reduction for the mayor in the event the administrator position is approved, another adding the administrator position, and a third for the council cost of living allowance.
The mayor would also receive a three percent cost of living allowance on his current salary if the administrator position is approved.
Other CW news
Council approved a resolution urging Governor Mike DeWine and members of the Ohio General Assembly to restore the local government fund to pre-recession levels.
The fund was reduced in 2011 by 50 percent by the Kasich administration from 3.68 precent of general revenue funds to the current 1.66 level.
Past Ohio General Assemblies further decreased funding and revenue sharing in addition to significantly reducing the local government funds. The reductions resulted in a $150,000 to $180,000 revenue loss per year since 2011.
“All the local governments are going to send a letter to the Ohio Municipal League and ask for the legislature’s and governor’s help,” said Mayor Mike Ebert. “We’d like to build it back up.”
While the resolution passed, the vote was 5-2 with councilmen Bob Clark and Patrick Shea voting against it.