By John Edwards
Pay raises – mostly 2 percent per year increases – for a dozen city employees and the establishment of a new part-time property maintenance officer who would work two or three days per week, were discussed at Sheffield Lake City Council’s Dec. 15 work session. Raises exceeding 2 percent went to the finance director, whose workload now includes the duties of the city treasurer (a position abolished by a change to the city charter approved by voters Nov. 3) from $56,596.80 – $66,596.80; the magistrate of Mayor’s Court, from $7,500 to $9,500 annually; and the safety director, whose salary, if approved by a majority of City Council, would increase from $3,402.84- to $8,000 annually at the request of Mayor Dennis Bring.
Bring has served as both the city’s mayor and safety director for more than three years and earns $8,800 per year as mayor of Sheffield Lake. Along with eliminating the city treasurer, voters approved changes to the charter that included an added requirement for the mayor to also be the director of safety. The employees receiving 2 percent raises include: secretary of the Civil Service Commission; custodian of the Community Center; law director; the clerk and assistant clerk of Mayor’s Court; clerk of council, including the positions of clerk of Planning Commission; Board of Zoning Appeals, Park Board and Council committees; manager of the Community Center; and the city prosecutor. The videographers, Brookside students who record City Council meetings to be posted on the city’s website, would receive a $5 increase, from $20 to $25 per regular council meeting (not including work session meetings.)
Ward 2 Councilman Alan Smith, who chaired the work session in the absence of Rick Rosso, protested the proposed increase for the safety director because in his opinion it seems to violate the City Charter, which requires elected officials’ pay raises to become effective only after election or reelection to the term following the term in which council approves such an increase. Law Director David Graves said that in his opinion the voters’ approval of making the safety director a part of the mayor’s job would satisfy the spirit of the charter’s next term after election provision. Graves also pointed out that Bring has served as unpaid safety director for over three years due to the difficulty of finding anyone capable of performing the duties of safety director who would take on the job for $3,402.84 a year.
Council will see all of the ordinances above as well as for the city’s proposed 2016 Appropriations Budget on the agenda for the next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 29 instead of the usual date of Dec. 22, a change council approved Dec. 8 deeming the proximity of that date to the Christmas holiday to be reason to delay the proceedings for a week.
Speaking as Safety Director Bring made a plea to residents who park their automobiles in driveways overnight but neglect to lock the car doors to remind themselves to lock their cars, noting that a rash of recent thefts from unlocked parked cars has been reported to the police department.
“Please remember to lock your car when you leave it parked in your driveway,” Bring said.