Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Size Doesn't Matter

The Star provides a list of the highest paid mayors in Indiana. It shows size doesn't always matter. Indianapolis is by far the state's largest city with a population of over 834,000, but Mayor Greg Ballard is only the 8th highest paid mayor in the state at $102,620. Perhaps not surprising, the state's highest paid mayor comes from one with very high poverty levels. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson earns about $130,000. When Fishers' first mayor Scott Fadness takes office, he will become one of the highest paid in the state at $125,000. Here's the top ten list:

1. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson-$129,922 (Pop. 79,170)
2. Fort Wayne Mayor Thomas Henry-$127,289 (Pop. 254,555)
3. Carmel Mayor James Brainard-$118,673 (Pop. 83,656)
4. Westfield Mayor Andy Cook-$108,200 (Pop. 33,382)
5. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg-$104,847 (Pop. 100,800)
6. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott-$104,436 (Pop. 80,830)
7. Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear-$104,340 (Pop. 55,075)
8. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard-$102,620 (Pop. 834,852)
9. Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke-$98,562 (Pop. 120,235)
10. Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan-$95,464 (Pop. 80,963)

I found this statistic interesting. Carmel has 2,000 city employees, the same number as Fort Wayne, which is about triple the size of Carmel. South Bend has almost 20,000 more people, but its city employee headcount is almost half the size of Carmel's at 1,100. Brainard must have city employees hanging from the chandeliers up there.


Anonymous said...

That's why the Carmel Police are just vicious traffic-ticket writers and why so many people are scared to drive through Carmel.

Jimmy needs the cash, so he sends his shakedown squad out to steal it.

Carmel runs its own little City Court to ensure that nothing impedes the money flow from your pocket to the City.

Anonymous said...

Does Booty Judge's salary in South Bend include the value of Notre Dame season tickets?

Bunce said...

In business, strong sales will mask a myriad of poor decisions, wastefulness, and unnecessary expenses. The market will always uncover these business "sins" and inflict the appropriate punishment.

In local government, it's no different. High AV generates strong tax collections and allows for poor decisions, wastefulness, and unnecessary expense to flourish, Carmel and Jim Brainard being exhibit A. While I don't have the figures, I would suspect substantial subsidies from state/federal sources allow the city of Gary to remain on the gravy train.

My city (not close to Indy) uses long term borrowing for immediate expenses, shuffling $ between accounts, siphoning sewage $, among other things to keep the train running. I imagine this scenario would apply to most of the other cities in Indiana.

There is no fundamental problem with a mayor, or any city employee, being paid high compensation. The problem is that all this compensation is determined politically, not in the marketplace.

As a private sector business owner bearing the brunt of the property tax burden, I can only say that I am not even close to getting my money's worth for what I pay and would not willingly purchase these services at these rates.

The wheels will come off, sooner for some and probably later for the folks in Carmel, Westfield, and Fishers but they will eventually crash.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The value of Ballard's Pacers, Colts and concert tickets, free meals, along with the free overseas vacations for him and his wife, probably comes close to his annual salary.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it noteworthy that the Democrat mayor of a city, frequently thought of as the Murder Capital of the USA, wallowing in poverty, & with a dilapidated infrastructure has the highest paid mayor in the state.

Where is their tax base? You can't get something from nothing and 25% of its population is below the poverty line. How can they justify such irresponsible salary for the mayor? It sure looks like Gary is going the way of Detroit into bankruptcy caused by Democrat mismanagement.

Sir Hailstone said...

"Where is their tax base? You can't get something from nothing and 25% of its population is below the poverty line"

Steel mills and the city's share of the casino revenue.

Bunce said...

Anon @ 2:58...
Gary's Dem mayor is no more shameful and destructive than Carmel's Brainard or Westfield's Cook, both Republicans.

Most Indiana mayors, regardless of party, have their communities on a path of ultimate financial calamity. They're just going at different speeds and with different amounts of fuel in the tank.

LamLawIndy said...

That's unfair: fines & court costs collected from infractions & misdemeanors in Carmel City Court don't go to the City's general fund. And infractions & misdemeanors make up the bulk of the court's caseload by far.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, Lam, look up a word called "fungible."

No clever white-collar thief directly pockets the stolen loot. He puts it into a series of accounts, then has accounts bill the receiving accounts for services or costs and extracts every penny of the very money he stole, hopefully making the money look clean to people who can't follow the shell game.


What's particularly disappointing is that your defense of a very nasty and predatory police department comes amidst a wave of excellent reporting on policing-for-profit. See the Washington Post's recent front-page articles.

The Republicans must back away from their unflinching support of cops.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that Carmel hired a lot of people so that when the financial issues really become a complete mess to where massive tax increases are needed, they will instead just cut 25% or more of their workforce. Carmel seems to pay well, so lets just say that 500 employees cut only cost them $30K/year in total wages and benefits. Just letting 500 people at that cost go would save the city $15,000,000.00. That is a huge amount of money to free up year after year.

LamLawIndy said...

Court costs aren't fungible. IC § 33 delineates where the fees go, & they don't go to the executive branch of municipalities. For example, Mayor Brainard cannot legally impound the $1 or $2 from a criminal defendant's $168 in court costs that represent the judicial salaries fee (IC 33-37-5-26) just because he needs to service debt from the Arts District.

Anonymous said...

"Court costs aren't fungible."

Of course, they are. Any budget that receives revenues from other accounts and that must deliver revenues to other accounts experiences fungibility. Are we fully clear on the concept?

For example, because of fungibility, there's no way you can donate to the United Way and not fund abortions.

Again, the Republicans have to turn their backs on the cops. Being the American Nazi Party is not (or should not be)a path to success.

Anonymous said...

Hamilton County is not reality. Not even close.