Monday, December 14, 2009

City Council To Consider Backdoor Payraise

Indianapolis City-County Councilors will consider a proposal at tonight's council meeting that will allow councilors to earn additional money for attending council committee meetings. Currently, council members are allowed to collect up to $2,480 in additional per diem payments for attendance of up to 40 committee meetings a year. Under Proposal 458 sponsored by Councilor Michael McQuillen (R), councilors will be allowed a per diem payment for up to 50 committee meetings, adding another $620 a year to their pay. Slowly but surely councilors are moving to make the part-time job a full-time job. Councilors presently earn a base pay of $12,240 a year (12% of the mayor's salary of $102,000) but earn more than $17,000 when you factor in their per diem payments. The council president earns an additional $1,982 in annual pay, while other leaders are paid an additional $1,320 a year. Committee chairpersons receive $797 a year in additional pay. A councilor like McQuillen who serves as a committee chairperson will earn a maximum of $17,869 a year if his proposal is adopted. Councilors are also allowed to participate in the employee benefit plans that are offered other full-time elected officials of the City of Indianapolis. Nearly one-third of the councilors work in full-time government-funded jobs at the state or local level. The pay raise comes at a time when city and county agencies are being forced to reduce their budgets due to dropping revenues.

UPDATE: Councilor Dane Mahern moved to send the proposal back to committee at tonight's council meeting, which would have had the effect of killing the proposal. Mahern's motion lost on an 8-21 vote. On a vote of 12-17, the council voted down the proposal. The Republican leadership backed the proposed pay raise, although a number of Republicans like Councilors Bob Lutz, Mike Speedy, Ben Hunter and Christine Scales voted against it. Councilor McQuillen defended it, claiming it would only increase the council's budget a couple of thousand dollars. CCC President Bob Cockrum said it had been many years since the council had voted for a pay raise. That's not altogether true. While it is true their base pay has not been increased for many years, there have been occasional increases in the per diem pay of council members. The problem of some members attending more than 40 council meetings seems to be a self-inflicted problem. Some members sit on several committee, while Councilor Coleman deadpanned that he would like at least one committee appointment. He was stripped of his committee assignments after he bolted the Republican Party to become a Libertarian.


dcrutch said...

The state cutting back on spending, double-digit unemployment, charities busting at the seams with needy, understaffed law enforcement, school budgets headed down, down, down, can't scrape-up enough money to keep up with sidewalk repair or abandoned housing demoltion.....NOW is the time City-Council needs a raise?
Ask former Mayor Peterson what he thinks about your timing.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Okay, dcrutch, sorry to challenge you, but since when have school budgets ever gone down?

I remember about 10 years ago researching the issue and discovering that spending on K-12 over the previous two decade had gone up 50% ABOVE inflation. Every year we spend more and more on our schools. While particular districts might be losing money, they're probably also losing students, e.g. IPS.

Otherwise, I agree with your post 100%. I wonder if the Ds are going to make this a party line vote so they have something else to use against hte Rs come 2011.

guy77money said...

Do they have a clue? Yes I know some of them do quite a bit of work but now is not the time. It's not like no one else wants their jobs. I have always thought most politicians just don't get it! If they pass a pay raise it just give the Democrat's another bullet to use in the next election.

Sir Hailstone said...

Wow. Rozelle Boyd tried this the last time around and was thoroughly b-slapped by the watchful public, and subsequently lost after 40+ years on the Council.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

I think they are patterning themselves after the Wayne Township Board.
In Wayne Township, the trustee employs his brother (well...OK...the taxpayers employ him) and they are paid a total package around $ONE-QUARTER MILLION A YEAR.
Plus, they each drive take-home cars with unlimited mileage and equipped with emergency lights, sirens, and radios.
Now the township board feels they are entitled to a large raise, being on the PERF pension plan, and receive taxpayer funded health care insurance!
What a deal for 12 meetings a year!

dcrutch said...

Mr. Ogden:
I said "headed", and granted that's partially speculation. However, based on reduced state spending on higher education it's a factual statement. Based on a recent Star 'North Indy' headline, they are headed down for Washington Township. Based on decreased tax revenues and an overall national emphasis on goverment expansion versus business success, I stand by my statement.
I appreciate and totally agree with the stigma of rubber-stamped, increased educational spending. But, I believe we're continuing in a down fiscal cycle.
I'd love to be wrong.