Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Double-Digit Pay Raises For Ballard's Staff Now Drawing Media Scrutiny

Several stories hit the mainstream media this afternoon questioning why Mayor Greg Ballard handed out double-digit pay raises to top members of his staff at the same time city agency heads are being asked to identify cuts in their budgets to help close a budget deficit that may be as high as $50-60 million. Ballard provided salary increases of at least $20,000 for his chief of staff and two deputy mayors after he decided earlier this year to pay a new deputy mayor of education a salary of $120,000. Other staff members received raises as high as 31%. In all, 14 members of Ballard's staff shared in large pay raises this spring according to the Star's Jon Murray.

Fourteen staffers — about half the staff in Ballard’s 25th floor offices in the City-County Building — shared in large raises in May and June, from support staffers up to deputy mayors. The average boost among those employees was nearly 18 percent . . .
I think it's absolutely obscene,” said Councilwoman Angela Mansfield, a Democrat who chairs the Administration and Finance Committee. “I keep coming to the word obscene over and over again. When you’ve got situations like (shortfalls in) Animal Care and Control, which has been underfunded again and again ..... to give somebody a raise from $98,000 to $120,000, it’s just obscene.”
That nearly 23 percent boost was given to deputy mayors Olgen Williams and Michael Huber to match the $120,000 salary paid to Ballard’s new deputy mayor for education, Jason Kloth, who was hired in the spring.
New Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn, the former Republican council president, also makes $120,000. His predecessor, Chris Cotterill, was paid $97,850.
Overall, Ballard signed off on pay increases amounting to $149,010. The largest percentage raise — 30.8 percent — went to Deputy Chief of Staff Amy Waggoner. An executive assistant received a 6.2 percent raise, the smallest bump.
Mayor Ballard did not respond to the complaints about the pay raises. He left that to his press secretary, Marc Lotter, who also received a big pay raise bumping his annual salary to $105,000. Lotter defended the raises by claiming that the higher salaries are being absorbed within the mayor's current budget by not filling vacant positions on the mayor's staff, which became very bloated during Ballard's first term in office. One of the positions that isn't being filled is a director of Latino Affairs position previously held by Carlos May, who left the mayor's staff recently to campaign full-time for the 7th District congressional seat he is seeking that is currently held by U.S. Rep. Andre Carson.

Councilor Angela Mansfield, who chairs the Administration and Finance Committee, told the IBJ's Kathleen McLaughlin that she first learned of the staff raises after reading about it on Advance Indiana. Mansfield told McLaughlin that she didn't think the mayor's decision to boost the pay for his deputy mayor of education should have been used as an excuse for raising the salaries of other senior staff members given the current financial difficulties the city is facing. Councilor Mary Moriarty Adams tells Fox 59's Russ McQuaid that she expects that all city agencies will have to make cuts to close the major budget deficit the city is facing. McQuaid reported that one of the proposals being considered by the administration is to ask the FOP to open up contract negotiations to reduce a 3% pay raise that police officers are scheduled to receive under their contract. This comes as the administration announced that it plans to keep Public Safety Director Frank Straub on for an extended period. Straub had been expected to leave his current position at the end of July after he announced his planned exit to avoid a no-confidence vote planned by the city council a few months ago.


CircleCityScribe said...

I hope the Council sets a date for the Frank Straub "no confidence" vote for a quick date.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Candidate Ballard was going to cut the number of people on the Mayor's staff. Didn't do it. Mayor Ballard totally screwed up hiring new officers with Peterson 's pSTax - buying cop cars &guns, instead.

Now he gives HUGEraises to those in his office. Mansfield is right - the raises were obscene. The Mayor has denied other departments request to give raises from unfilled positions, which is one of several stories being floated to say no additional money was needed for theses raises.

Ballard has no common sense.