Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ricketts Pads Salary After First Month On The Job

Proving to the public he's nothing but a self-serving career politician, Lawrence Mayor Paul Ricketts has figured out a way to pad his pay with a 25% pay hike after his first month in office. Ricketts ran for the job knowing it paid $65,000. Although he said nothing about the matter during his campaign to oust Mayor Deborah Cantwell from office, he now thinks he's entitled to an additional $15,000 pay because the City is taking back control of the water utility former Mayor Tom Schneider, a Ricketts pal, illegally handed over to a private entity, along with millions in cash and publicly-owned assets. As the Star's Kathy Kightlinger explains:

"I'll explain in detail the time spent and money saved and how the duties are above and beyond the duties anticipated in the summer of 2007, when the 2008 budgets were set," Ricketts said. "In no way did this year's budget anticipate or compensate anybody for the additional chores of bringing the water utility back to city's supervision."

At stake is the utility board's decision to pay Ricketts $15,000 a year over his $65,000 salary for work he'd do related to the city's water and sewer services. The board also approved additional paychecks of $12,500 for Controller Kimberly M. Diller and $3,600 for the board's secretary.

Another $65,000 was set aside for a graphic information system coordinator.

"These were not duties that were part of the mayor's job when I ran for it," said Ricketts, who added that an $80,000 yearly salary puts his pay in line with that of mayors of cities of similar size.

Lawrence officials and Utility Service Board members have been overseeing the operations of the city's utilities since late 2007, when a city lawsuit with the services' former private operator was settled.

"I have probably spent 25 to 35 percent of my time, additional time, working on the water ... situation," Ricketts said. "I don't see that stopping in the near future.

"It's common for a utility service board to pay a portion of a mayor's salary, according to Ricketts."If you go around the state, you'll find that the utility sometimes pays half," he said.

The water deal former Mayor Tom Schneider cooked up to line the pockets of his political cronies just won't go away. Even in getting the city-owned utility back in the city's control, its cost to taxpayers just keep piling up. Last year, former Mayor Cantwell entered into a controversial settlement with the private company which took control of the water utility under Mayor Schneider, agreeing to pay it $2 million after years of litigation. It had already been established that the deal Schneider entered into with his pals was illegal under Indiana law. Some observers believe the settlement agreement may have cost Cantwell her re-election. Ironically, cronies of newly-elected Mayor Ricketts benefitted most from that controversial settlement.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does a graphic information system coordinator do and what do they need one for? Sounds like a pretty good gig for $65K.

Wilson46201 said...

GIS is a fancy name for computerized map making... somebody has to keep track of where all the water mains are in Lawrence.

Anonymous said...

what good demo can run in four years:
Russ Brown: Making REAL money as a lawyer
Dean Jessup: Oh wait, he backed Ricketts this past time around
Mike Hobbs: Maybe, only if he can keep his act together

Anonymous said...

wilson46201, r u backing Ricketts on this one?

Wilson46201 said...

heck no - i just know that competent techie types aren't cheap...

Anonymous said...

And Wilson, Neither is Ricketts.

Anonymous said...

Wilson46201 you're a party insider,who would make a great match-up with Paulie,Russ Brown,Dean Jessup,or Mike Hobbs

Anonymous said...

Russ Brown would be the Man. I think he would consider it. Or Karen Horth-Powers should be look at. No DINO please.

Anonymous said...

just a typical republican

Anonymous said...

Utilities have unique needs as far as mapping of their service lines go.

It is not easy. I doubt the cronies who bought the water company, kept up on their mapping responsibilities. It is a pretty heavy cost, and they were all about raping the ratepayers.

Crouch, et al...all big-time supporters of--TA DAAA--Ricketts.

What a filthy mess Lawrence government is. And duplicitous, too.

Off with their heads. Let Ballard run Lawrence.

Hope the Lawrence council pays upits liability insurance claims. Ricketts has a temper, and a history of using his car as a weapon, against political enemies.

Anonymous said...

"Mike Hobbs: Maybe, only if he can keep his act together"

And beat that DUI and check deception rap.

I doubt he'll see another term as trustee (assuming townships aren't dissolved by then)

Then again political careers can be resurrected - just ask Paul Ricketts.

Anonymous said...

i think mike hobbs will be just fine, keep in mind he's only 25

varangianguard said...

Hopefully, a Lawrence GIS coordinator would do a little more than map water lines.

911 and Fire response mapping would be the best use for the data. Plus, there is cadastral mapping, and an easy way to review property improvements. New deck? Zing! Higher taxes.

Heck, if it weren't Lawrence, I'd apply for the job.

Anonymous said...

I hope Russ is looking seriously at running in four years. He'd be excellent for the city. He's detail-oriented, passionate about public service, and would be a great advocate for the city.

Anonymous said...

If the voters of Lawrence do not like Ricketts' shenanigans then they should not have voted him into office. The voters of Lawrence are the ones who gave him a license to steal.

Anonymous said...

Well. varan, you could apply, but...

The going rate for these jobs is 60-80K, plus big bennies, and each year they get more heaped on their plate because of increased technology efficiencies.

Most deck-type improvements are already linekd into assessors' compuoters via the permit applciation offices. But, Lawrence does have an overabundance of Morgan County types...build it now, get permits later, if ever...

GIS folks at utilities are busy. And necessary.

Ricketts is not necessary. Ever. Except as a food taster.

Anonymous said...

I called the Indiana Association of Cities & Towns and found out from them that it is "usual and customary for Mayors of Second Class cities to receive compensation from the water utility." I also asked about the total compensation for Mayors of cities similar in population to Lawrence. It turns out that $80k is about average.

Anonymous said...

Rickets is the one who promised Steve Davis the Chief of Police position, if he got elected.
He backstepped on his longtime friend. Used him and then dumped him.
Ricketts is a jerk

Indyfirefighter said...

Wilson,
Read up before you run your mouth.
GIS is used by all police fire and ambulance agencies along with utility companies and many other agencies.
The City of Indianapolis has their own GIS division along with IUPUI and others

http://esri.com/

Anonymous said...

1:08: honey, darlin', that is not the kind of information IACT would routinely give out in short-form answer over the phone.

Maybe your dad needs you back at the office, huh, Miss Ricketts?

At least drum up real "evidence" to support your claim.

Anonymous said...

anon 8:54 Quite right. This raise issue WILL go to council and members on both sides are not happy about it. The mayor will try to run it through at the mid-month meeting but will be stopped. Ratepayers must be heard. Councillors, poll your constituents

Political Science Student said...

According to Abdul Hakim-Shabazz's blog Indiana Barrister found at www.IndianaBarrister.com, this is NO LONG AN ISSUE. Here's Abdul's quote:
.
"Lawrence Mayor Paul Ricketts won’t be accepting a proposed $15,000 raise for taking over the Water Company. Ricketts says the law doesn’t allow an elected official to change his or her salary during their term in office. He says he’ll still assume the duties of controlling the water company, but the money should go to the employees."