LIMA — After months of sometimes spirited debate, both in committee and in regular sessions, Lima City Council did not pass legislation to change the mayoral salary structure after a 4-4 tie during the ordinance’s third and final reading Monday.
The ordinance would have called for a freeze on any increases to the mayor’s salary for the next term, starting in December 2017. The salary would have been left at just over $135,000 throughout the four-year term with no cost of living increases added during that time. As it stands now, the salary will be frozen for the first two years of the term, with cost of living increases capped at 3 percent factored in for the latter two years.
During the debate over the ordinance, which lasted over 30 minutes, 2nd Ward Councilman Sam McLean, who had voted against the measure in the previous two readings, tried to make a motion to change the wording of the ordinance, reducing the mayor’s salary to $120,000 and re-adding cost of living increases.
“We have to get back in a position where we can accept a salary that’s equitable with the number of people we have in our city,” he said.
Entertaining that motion would have required 5th Ward Councilwoman Teresa Adams and 7th Ward Councilwoman Ann Miles to forego their original motion and second, respectively, to pass the ordinance as it was written. While Miles took back her second, Adams would not. Council president John Nixon then seconded Adams’ motion, negating McLean’s attempt to change the salary amount. However, while McLean, 3rd Ward Councilman Jesse Lowe II and 4th Ward Councilwoman Rebecca Kreher maintained their vote against this measure, 6th Ward Councilman Derry Glenn also voted no after voting in favor of the ordinance the previous two readings.
“I had told the people that I would support this every Monday night until I see you come together, do your research and tell me,” Glenn said at the end of the meeting. “They had never told me what they really felt until this Friday and Saturday. They came out and talked about it.”
Miles expressed disappointment that no resolution to this issue was able to be reached.
“I was hoping that there would be a compromise,” she said. “There were so many suggestions for salary changes, and the bottom line is that no one was going to win in this.”
Kreher said that she left Monday’s meeting believing she did what her constituents required of her.
“I voted no because of the overwhelming majority of voters in the city who reached out to me and said that the salary was too high,” she said.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.