Mayor Coleman declines raise in 2009

At a time when the government is bailing out big businesses who are taking bonus checks in the millions, a Mayor in Ohio declines a raise. For those whose incomes are in the six digits (or more), you would think declining a raise in hard times would be compulsory and that those who take a bailout as a wealth opportunity would be jailed for treason.

Here is the article from the Columbus Dispatch.

Spending cuts
Coleman rejects raise for self, 400 others
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 3:10 AM
By Robert Vitale


"Mayor Michael B. Coleman and hundreds of the city's top-paid employees won't be getting a raise in 2009.

The mayor's office said yesterday that Coleman will forgo any increase in his $152,000 salary next year and will freeze pay as well for about 400 other Columbus employees who help run departments under his control.

The move is a small savings compared with what's likely to come Friday when the mayor submits his 2009 spending plan to City Council members.

Coleman must cut spending or increase fees to fill an $80 million gap between next year's projected income and what it would cost to maintain current services. The pay freeze announced yesterday affects less than 5 percent of city workers and will save about $500,000.

For months, city officials have predicted layoffs and deep spending cuts to balance the budget.

"He's setting his example," spokesman Dan Williamson said.

Coleman hopes others will follow.

His 2009 budget won't include money to raise pay for more than 3,000 workers in two unions now negotiating contracts: the Fraternal Order of Police and the Columbus Municipal Association of Government Employees. Williamson said the mayor will abide by whatever pacts are reached, though.

And although Coleman has no power to freeze pay for other elected officials and their employees, Williamson said "he would not object" if they take the same action.

Budgets for City Council, City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. and Auditor Hugh J. Dorrian automatically include increases for workers' salaries, according to Finance Director Joel S. Taylor. Their offices employ about 125 nonunion workers.

CMAGE President Teresa Langer and FOP President Jim Gilbert said little about Coleman's action beyond the obvious: Pay is definitely an issue at the negotiating table. CMAGE, which represents professionals and middle managers, has been without a contract since August. The contract for Columbus police officers expires next month.

City Council members will begin hearings next week on Coleman's budget. Because one annual ordinance sets pay for all nonunion workers, Council President Michael C. Mentel said he's unsure whether different policies are possible for those outside Coleman's departments.

Coleman and council members rejected pay raises for themselves in 2003."