August 29, 2014

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Sheffield city officials getting pay raises

SHEFFIELD — Council members, Mayor John Hunter and Clerk-Treasurer Tim Pelcic have new incentive to get re-elected.

Council members on Monday night voted to hike the clerk-treasurer’s salary from about $19,000 to $30,212, Council salaries from about $4,000 to $4,700 and the mayor’s salary from about $40,000 to $61,632. Because Ohio law forbids elected officials from voting themselves pay raises, the raises would not take effect until after the election.

Council member’s last raise was in 1992. The last raise for the clerk-treasurer — a part-time position — was in 1998.

The last mayoral raise was in 2008, when the position became full time. The part-time position had paid $35,000.

Council member Jean Ackerman was the lone vote against the Council and mayoral increases. Ackerman said the raises were unfair to taxpayers in the wake of water rate and tax increases for the new high school.

“Council should not have a raise and the mayor should not have a raise at this time. He had one three-and-a-half years ago,” she said. “It is absolutely unjust.”

After the meeting Ackerman, who took office in 2006, said she regretted not opposing the raises when they were discussed at the Council’s June 27 meeting. Ackerman, who said her opposition was not based on the performance of Council members or Hunter, said about 20 constituents expressed opposition to her over the raises.

However, Hunter said he’s received positive constituent feedback from constituents. Hunter noted mayoral responsibilities have grown as the village’s businesses and populations have significantly increased over the last decade.

The number of businesses has risen from about 160 in 2000 to about 254, he said. The population has gone from 2,494 in 2000 to 3,982 last year.

Hunter, who also serves as safety director, president of the Council and chairman of the planning division, said he is the fourth-lowest paid of Lorain County’s 17 mayors and that 45 of the village’s 54 full-time employees earn more than him.

“Do you know of any executive of any corporation (where) all of his employees make more money than he does?” Hunter asked. “Their base salaries are more than (mine). That doesn’t even include overtime.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.