YOUNGSTOWN – With the councilors’ questionable support for a raise in the legal director’s salary, the mayor is calling for a 3 percent increase – significantly less than the 15 percent he originally proposed.
But Mayor Jamael Tito Brown still recommends the council give the finance director a 15 percent increase when it meets on Wednesday.
In a Vindicator article on Jan. 11, a majority of council members expressed support for the 15 percent pay increase for the finance director but not for the legal director.
Brown proposed a 15 percent increase on December 9 for director jobs that have not received a raise in the past 13 years.
Brown said Friday he cut the amount to 3 percent – 1 percent annually for the past three years – because some councilors had concerns about the amount the city was spending on outside legal work.
“When we talked about it, one of the problems was outsourcing,” he said. “We’re looking for a way to reorganize the department to get specialist lawyers. If we do, we can get in-house lawyers and justify the increase. It’s a good balance. “
When asked if he believed the council would support the increase for Legal Director Jeff Limbian, Brown said, “I look forward to your consideration. I think it’s a fair request if we want to attract talent and reduce outsourcing. “
Councilors asked Brown for more information in December to justify the increases and have asked him several times since then when he would promote the legislation. In the Jan. 11 article, several said they either would not support 15 percent increases for Limbian or were under no obligation.
Limbian and Kyle Miasek, assistant finance director who has served as interim finance director since January 2018, currently receive $ 83,948.54 per annum.
Legislation, which is due to be considered Wednesday and will be debated at the council finance committee meeting on Monday, will raise the finance director’s annual salary to $ 96,553.60. A separate ordinance provides for the legal director’s annual salary to be increased 3 percent to $ 86,467.47.
WHERE ARE YOU STANDING
At least four of the seven council members support the increase for Miasek.
But only two – Mike Ray, D-4th Ward, and Basia Adamczak, D-7th – have said they support a raise for Limbian. Councilor Samantha Turner, D-3., Said she would not vote for a raise as those salaries should take effect at the start of the mayor’s next term, Jan. 1, 2022.
Councilor Julius Oliver, D-1st Ward, who previously said he did not support the 15 percent increase for Limbian, said Friday that he would not vote for the lower increase.
“The position deserves higher pay, but the person in the position does not,” he said. “The three most important positions in the city are arguably mayor, legal director and finance director – the control council. The pressure and weight of the (Legal Director) position deserve higher pay, but unfortunately the person there is not up to the job. For me it’s a no (Brown) needs a new legal director. “
Oliver supports the increase in Miasek’s salary.
Alderman Jimmy Hughes, D-2nd Ward, said he believed department head salaries should not be controlled by councilors who can change them based on whether they like the person on the job or not.
“It should be the position, not the individual,” he said. “That is the mayor’s job. It’s not just these two, it’s the entire cabinet. We shouldn’t play one high and another low. ”
But Hughes isn’t ready to make up his mind yet.
“I didn’t look through it,” he said on Friday. “I haven’t spoken to my colleagues and haven’t heard the mayor’s statement. I look at the facts, all the circumstances. I look at everything that happened. It should be fair to everyone. Fixed salaries should be paid there. “
City voters approved a 58.8-41.2 percent statute change in November that allowed salaries to be set by the council, rather than the old statute language which stated that paying 80 percent of the wages of the Mayor’s, which is now $ 104,936.
Councilor Anita Davis, D-6th Ward, previously said she would only support raises for both if the prosecutor and assistant finance director jobs were officially eliminated. But she backed away on Friday, saying she wanted to discuss adding the duties of a centralized buyer – which Brown wants – to the job of assistant finance director.
“I’ve seen movement on the financial side,” she said. “I didn’t see any movement on the right. I saw nothing that could make the prosecutor part of the legal director’s duties. I am just not happy. “
Councilor Lauren McNally, D-5th, previously said she supported the finance director’s pay raise but hadn’t chosen the legal director – criticizing Limbian and the legal department.
She said Friday of Brown’s proposal to lower Limbian’s increase, “I’m confused and curious to hear his reasons for doing so.”
Brown has said the increases are necessary to attract and retain good people for the two jobs.
The two positions do less than the fire and police chiefs, who are each paid $ 94,250.17 per year. Miasek would make more money as an assistant finance director – $ 84,729 per year – than as a finance director. The city’s chief information officer, who works under him, makes $ 91,079.78 a year.
Miasek has served as interim finance director and assistant finance director for more than three years, saving the city more than $ 375,000 while Limbian also serves as the city attorney, saving the city around $ 300,000 at the same time.
Latest news and more in your inbox