By Linda Dillman
Mandated by the city charter, Canal Winchester Council is considering changes to the mayor’s salary for 2020 and 2021, but no changes for council salaries.
According to the charter, the salaries of elected officials, including council members, the president and vice president of council and the mayor, must be reviewed and changes adopted no later than July 1 of odd numbered years.
While council is proceeding with an ordinance indicating no change to their current salaries, they are also in the three reading process to increase the salary for the mayor’s position 2.5 percent each year.
Currently, Mayor Mike Ebert receives $95,983 annually. In 2020, and if approved by council, the mayor’s salary would increase to $98,382 and then go up to $100,842 in 2021. The council president would continue to be paid $7,251 per year, the vice president would still receive $6,921 and members of council would get $6,592 for the same two-year period.
During its May 20 meeting, council discussed the two salary ordinances after looking at a 2018 salary comparison study conducted by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission for communities throughout the central Ohio area.
“When we look at some of these towns, nobody is exactly the same as us and you have to apply a little bit of logic to what you’re reading,” said Council President Bruce Jarvis, who recently announced his own candidacy for mayor, “but at least it’s a guideline.”
According to the study, within the local area, the mayor of Groveport is paid $26,000 per year. However, Groveport also has a city administrator position at an annual salary of $122,200. Canal Winchester does not employ a city administrator/manager along with a mayoral position.
“We’ve been compared with having a mayor,” said Councilman Mike Walker, “where some cities have an administrative assistant for the mayor, our mayor does not have a city administrator. How many people are looking at us comparing with other cities? We’re not comparing city managers. We have a strong mayor and don’t have a city manager.”
Jarvis said while his comments are no reflection on Ebert or his performance, he felt the city was where it needed to be on both sides and should remain with the salary status quo.
Councilman Patrick Lynch concurred with the council president.
“We’re growing a lot, but what I guess I’m getting at is we don’t do too badly in this town,” said Lynch. “I don’t see there’s really a need for an increase in salary, that’s my opinion. I certainly would not want to take an increase myself.”
Councilman Mike Coolman said the city has “some really good talent” and “to keep them in check, you have to have a leader. They don’t come around us every day in the form of what Mr. Ebert has surrounded himself with, so for that, I’m happy to give him a raise. I think for this, the end result is the community we live in. The end results are the honors that we receive verbally every day by our visitors. That is a total reflection on his abilities to form a team.”
Councilman Will Bennett thought it was interesting that some department heads within the city are currently paid more than the mayor. However, fellow Councilman Bob Clark said it happens “all the time.”
The first reading of the two ordinances—one keeping the council salaries at the current level and the other increasing the mayor’s salary 2.5 percent over the next two years—was held on June 4. According to the charter and the legislation, adoption must take place no later than July 1.