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Stow officials debate salary reductions

By admin Published: February 9, 2011

Gina Mace
Special to the Beacon Journal

STOW: City Council members and the mayor can expect to make less money next year. The only question is how much less.

Councilman Mike Rasor has proposed a reduction of $6,600 for both elected offices. He would like to reduce the council's pay to $10,000 and the mayor to just under $83,000. Rasor wants the $54,000 in annual savings to be used for road repair and to buy snowplows.

Councilwoman Sara Drew has countered with a proposal that would cut the mayoral and council salaries by 10 percent to $81,193 and $14,940 a year.

Drew wants to use the savings to raise the salaries of city employees who were deemed underpaid by a consultant in 2008. She appears to have the support of at least three other council members.

Reducing elected officials' salaries was one of Rasor's campaign promises.

City Council President Janet D'Antonio said the concept isn't new.

''Council has reduced their salary more than once since I've been on council,'' D'Antonio said. ''We've always been the leaders in that area.''

While council members agree that there should be some reduction, they disagree with Rasor's contention that the council and mayor are overpaid.

Based on the 95 hours of meetings they attend each year, council members make about $180 an hour, Rasor estimates.

D'Antonio said the job isn't just about attending meetings.

''I resent the fact that there are people who see council pay as excessive,'' she said. ''It is not. That is, if you are putting in the hours needed to do a really good job.''

Because of earlier reductions and caps on cost-of-living increases, D'Antonio said she is making about the same salary today as when she joined the council in 1995.

Councilman Joe Hickin agrees that the salaries should be reduced by 10 percent. He said he would like to see the savings go toward paying down the debt and fixing roads.

The city's charter directs that salary reductions cannot go into effect in the middle of a term so any changes would have to wait until January after the council and mayoral elections.

City Council members plan to continue to discuss the issue.

They have until 120 days before the November election to pass salary legislation.

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