Hobart looking at raises for elected officials and staff
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent August 4, 2012 6:58PM
Updated: September 6, 2012 6:23AM
HOBART — City officials, council members and employees could receive raises in 2013, some for the first time in several years.
City council members this week discussed raising Mayor Brian Snedecor’s salary from $58,671 to $62,000, Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Longer’s pay to $61,500 and Judge William Longer’s salary to $49,516. Those, and other raises, were given the OK on first reading last week but still need to be approved on second reading before they can go into effect.
“It’s very important down the road and in the future to find someone to be CEO of what is basically a 200-plus employee corporation. We can slowly and steadily increase the amount to be more in line with the marketplace,” Council President Dave Vinzant, D-4th, said in recommending the mayor’s raise.
Vinzant also made a motion to eliminate extra stipends ranging from $805 to $3,024 for council members who sit on various commissions and boards in the city, but it died for a lack of a second. Vinzant made the motion after the mayor recommended council members’ pay be increased from $$7,384 to $8,750, giving them their first raise in several years.
Councilman Pete Mendez asked what would happen to the money now paid to council members for the extra duty. He also didn’t think it was necessary to give the mayor’s position a raise to attract potential candidates in the future.
“We don’t have the money, and the mayor didn’t ask for it. I don’t think there’s any shortage of people wanting to be mayor of this city,” Mendez said.
Councilman Matthew Claussen, D at-large, said he worried that without the extra stipend the council would have a difficult time getting people to fill the extra positions, which include council liaison for the plan commission, park board, contractors board and economic development commission, and the finance chair.
The council agreed to give raises to the police and fire chiefs, park superintendent, park foreman, public works superintendent and top two building maintenance staff workers, which they said would put these employees more in line with their peers in other communities.
Deborah Longer said if approved on second reading, the mayor will have a higher range of figures from which to decide how much each of their salaries will be.
In another budget matter, Claussen recommended that as in past years, the council also include up to a 2 percent raise for all other city employees, provided there is ample money in the budget to pay for them.
“There is a remote possibility that something could happen, and in that case we can give the employees something,” Claussen said.
The city has called for the 2 percent raise for city employees in the last couple budgets, but didn’t have the extra money to pay for them.
One salary that the council disagreed on was that of the executive director of the Maria Reiner Senior Center, not because of the amount but over who would pay it.
Executive director Pam Broadaway’s salary is currently paid out of the Maria Reiner Center’s budget. However, since the center has been so successful in the one year it has been open, it has been suggested that her salary be moved over to the city budget.
“Do we want to change the original plan of the Maria Reiner Center being self-funded or do we pick up the salary as we do the park superintendent and others?” Snedecor said.
Mendez said he’d like to leave the arrangement as is, with the city loaning money to the center and paying the city back each year.
“I’m a member, but you have to remember that people who are not residents of Hobart can join. It is unfair to ask Hobart residents to fund any employee of the center at this time,” Mendez said.
He suggested that dues, which now are nominal, be raised.
Broadaway said dues probably will be raised in September when they become due. She added that only 13 percent to 15 percent of the members live outside Hobart.
There currently are just under 1,800 members at the center.