April 16, 2014

Elyria
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Raises rejected for Lorain officials

LORAIN — The city’s auditor and treasurer won’t have raises to look forward to when they begin their new terms next month.

City Council tried to pass an ordinance Monday night giving pay increases to both elected officials for 2008, but did not have the eight required votes to make the ordinance take effect immediately. Only six Council members supported the raises.

The ordinance needed to be enacted before Jan. 2, when Treasurer Tom Urbanek and Auditor Ron Mantini start their new terms, and Monday night was the last meeting before Council’s planned holiday break. Council still could call a special meeting to enact the ordinance, but only if two of the five Council members who cast a no vote could be swayed to change their minds.

By law, elected officials cannot receive pay increases during their term.

With the raises, Mantini would have made $76,585 next year, which is an increase of $5,515, while Urbanek’s salary would have increased to $67,000, an increase of $9,599.

Voting for the increase were Councilmen David Wargo, D-1st Ward, Phil Betleski, D-2nd Ward, Bret Schuster, D-4th Ward, Micky Silecky, D-7th Ward, Craig Snodgrass, D-8th Ward ,and Tony Krasienko, D-at large.

Krasienko, who will take office as the city’s 43rd mayor next month, said both Mantini and Urbanek were some of the lowest-paid department heads in the city, let alone the county and region, and were much deserving of the raises.

Krasienko especially took issue with Mantini’s salary, since Mantini will next year be earning about $3,000 less than a subordinate who performs similar auditor functions, Krasienko said.

“I think it’s something that needs to be addressed,” he said. “I plan on bringing in somebody to take a look at the whole salary situation, including the duties and pay descriptions.”

Voting against the raises were Councilmen David Escobar, D-3rd Ward; Eddie Edwards, D-5th Ward; Greg Holcomb, D-6th Ward; Dan Given, D-at large; and Councilwoman Kathy Tavenner, D-at large.

Edwards said that it didn’t make sense to grant raises now when others have been turned down for raises earlier this year.

“If you don’t have the money, don’t give anyone the raise,” Edwards said. “I’m not saying they don’t deserve it, but can we afford it?”

Last month, Mantini projected a $1.6 million year-end deficit. City officials had worked through the year to cut it down to about $1.1 million, but were unsuccessful.

Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.