While Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s staff plans introduction of a 2013 city budget that may be $60 million in the red, those very people are collecting double-digit salary increases pushed through while other city agencies find themselves strapped for cash.
Outgoing Chief of Staff Chris Cotterill put the new salary structure in place this spring as he was leaving the mayor’s office to head back to the private sector.
His successor, city county councilman Ryan Vaughn, was hired in early May for $120,000.
His salary matched that of recently hired Deputy Mayor of Education Jason Kloth.
“Following the hiring of the deputy mayor of education, the mayor authorized the increase in salaries of the other deputy mayors and the chief of staff to match so that there was parity,” Communications Director Marc Lotter told Fox 59 News. “That was all done within the existing budget of the mayor’s office so we already achieved cost savings from the reduction of employees and movement of employees from previous positions.”
Deputy Mayors Olgen Williams and Michael Huber also received bumps in pay from $98,000 to $120,000 which measured out to 23 percent increases.
Lotter’s pay was hiked from $95,000 to $105,000.
Deputy Chief of Staff Amy Waggoner received two raises between May 7 and June 30. Her salary went from $65,000 to $70,000 to $85,000, a 31 percent increase.
In all, 14 staffers received an average of 18 percent raises, increasing Ballard’s office staff costs to nearly a million dollars at a time when all city agencies may be asked to reduce spending in the coming year.
“Obviously we’re going to do everything we can under Mayor Ballard’s direction to save everything we can and try to bring some savings in,” said Lotter. “We’re all in this together. We have to look for fiscally responsible solutions.”
Ballard’s staff is set to send his 2013 budget to the City-County Council August 13 for several weeks of hearings before its adoption October 31.
Councilwoman Mary Moriarity Adams expects budget cuts across city government.
“They may be required to make percentage cuts,” she said. “Now, over the first term of Mayor Ballard it’s been 5 percent a year for most agencies.
“I don’t know if they actually have it in their budgets to give another two or three percent because for most of them, depending on what their overall budget is, that amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars within their budget.”
Public safety spending makes up about 85 percent of the city’s budget. The mayor may ask the Fraternal Order of Police to reopen its four-year contract with the city to reduce a three percent pay hike that police officers are due.
Lotter also mentioned that officers may be asked to pay for gasoline they burn in their patrol cars while off duty.
Click here to see the pay rate changes for the mayor’s staff.