You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Should Mayfield mayor, council members get a raise? Village residents may decide in November

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 6/17/2020 By Jeff Piorkowski, cleveland.com

MAYFIELD, Ohio -- Village residents may be asked Nov. 3 to give pay raises to Mayor Brenda Bodnar and Village Council members.

An ordinance was introduced during Monday’s (June 15) council meeting that would have the mayor’s salary increase from the current $26,000 per year, to $50,000 per year, while adding health benefits. Meanwhile, the position of council president, under the ordinance, would increase from $11,000, to $12,100 annually. Council members would see an increase from $10,000, to $11,000 per year.

The legislation, which includes all of the increases, was introduced by Bodnar and the full council.

In a June 12 memorandum to Council President Stephen Schutt and the rest of council, Bodnar made her case for a raise. Bodnar explained that the village has about 3,400 residents, and a business community about three times that size, thanks largely to Progressive Insurance’s offices. The village serves as Progressive’s headquarters.

In a normal year, Bodnar stated, she works about 30 hours per week. Over the course of 48 weeks, she said she works about 1,440 hours and, under her current salary, earns about $18.05 per hour.

This year, dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, she noted, it is not a normal year. But, she also added, “My request for an increase in compensation is not based on 2020. It is based on normal years.”

She further stated, “This ordinance is not about me. It is about seeking fair pay for the work, skill, education and experience required by the job.”

During the online council meeting, Bodnar read from a letter she wrote, stating, "The increase in the mayor’s salary under the (proposed) ordinance represents approximately one-tenth of 1 percent of an $18-million budget. If you add in the cost of health insurance, it comes to a little over two-tenths of 1 percent of the budget. Neither the increases in the mayor’s compensation package, nor the increase in council’s salary, will have any significant impact on our budget.

“Taxpayers services will not decrease. Taxpayers will not have to pay any additional money to support these increases. The ordinance will simply give the voters the chance to decide on fair compensation.”

The village’s charter does not specify whether the mayor’s position is full- or part-time, nor does it state that the mayor is safety director, although Law Director Anthony Coyne said Bodnar acts in that capacity.

Coyne compiled a list of 15 area communities and the salaries of their mayors and council representatives. Coyne’s list had only Richmond Heights’ mayor, at $24,000, earning less than Mayfield Village’s mayor. Orange Village’s mayor earns $55,000 per year. In Pepper Pike, with a population of just over 6,300, the mayor earns a combined $82,500 for the positions of mayor and safety director. Coyne said Pepper Pike has an operating budget about $7 million less than Mayfield’s $18 million.

Councilman Denny Murphy was the only member of council to speak during this first discussion on the ordinance.

“Is this a good time for an ordinance like this?” Murphy asked.

“These past three months have been incredibly difficult for a lot of different people,” he said, “for businesses trying to keep afloat, trying to keep a job. It’s been very difficult, a challenging time for a lot of different people. As we stand here now, there is a ton of uncertainty as to where we are going and where we will be. There’s a lot of unknown, and they’re talking about having a second wave of the COVID in the fall.”

Murphy said that future income tax collections are uncertain in that it is not known whether the village will be able to collect in the future from people working from home.

“The timing isn’t great,” said Murphy, who urged residents to contact him and other members of council with their thoughts on the subject.

Bodnar answered that her administration has budgeted conservatively and that, if necessary, she would be prepared to make budget cuts. Coyne, however, said that,, compared to 2019, the village’s income tax collections, through May, are up by $475,000.

Helping the matter is the fact that the state legislature passed emergency legislation that allows business’s host communities to collect income taxes from those working at home. Coyne said Progressive workers will continue working remotely until Sept. 1.

According to the village charter, council is responsible for setting the salaries of the mayor and council. Once set, the salaries must be approved by the electorate.

Council will discuss the legislation at least two more times before voting as to whether to put the pay increase ordinance on the Nov. 3 ballot. The village has until Aug. 5 to file with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

See more Sun Messenger news here.

———

©2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

Visit The Plain Dealer, Cleveland at www.cleveland.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

AdChoices
AdChoices
AdChoices

More From The Plain Dealer

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland
The Plain Dealer Cleveland
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon