Kettering citizens this election will decide whether, or not, to approve two changes to the Kettering City Charter. Issue 28, if approved, will establish term limits for the Kettering mayor and Kettering Council members and Issue 29 will reduce the pay of the mayor and council members by 50%.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 9, the Kettering City Council will vote on a resolution urging Kettering citizens to vote “NO” on both Issue 28 and Issue 29. The meeting starts at 7:30 PM and will be held at the City Building at 3600 Shroyer Rd.
One council member, Rob Scott, is on record as urging a “Yes” vote. Mr. Scott, who initiated the Dayton Tea Party, is now the chair of the Montgomery County Republican Party. Another council member, Ashley Webb, according to a Terry Morris article in the Dayton Daily News, “opposes cutting the mayor’s pay and limiting consecutive terms in that office, but not for council.” This resolution should inspire an interesting debate at the council, and I am planning on attending the meeting.
Previously I wrote a post that asked, “Are Kettering’s Mayor And City Council Members Paid Too Much?”, and pointed out that Kettering has over 56,000 citizens and when the salary per citizen is calculated, the salary for Kettering’s mayor and council members is about in the middle of the amounts paid to other area mayors and council members.
I spoke briefly with Chuck Horn, former Kettering mayor, who is endorsing both Issue 28 and Issue 29. He told me that when he was mayor in 1978, he earned $6000. According to InflationData.com, the rate of inflation from 1978 to 2012 is 262.66%. The $6000 Mr. Horn earned in 1978 today is worth $21,756, so the $23,500 earned by the current Kettering mayor seems to be consistent with past amounts paid to the Kettering mayor.
Mr. Horn served in the Ohio Senate 1985-2000. He voted to approve term limits and was term limited in 2000. I asked if he felt that term limits had caused an improvement in the State Assembly and he said, “Probably not.” He added, however, that he felt at the local government level terms limits would make an improvement.
Both issues are the result of petitions initiated by a group called “Citizens For A Better Kettering,” whose web-site, urges a “Yes” vote saying, “Both Issues Have Been Endorsed by Former Mayors Chuck Horn, Dick Hartmann and Current Councilman Rob Scott.” From the web-site:
Issue 28: Term Limits
Council has become a rubber stamp with little innovation. Since February 2011 they’ve cast “Aye” votes on every proposed ordinance (1,689 times) without a single “Nay” vote.
Term Limits encourages new candidates to run for office, and assures a periodic infusion of new ideas. Our proposed Term Limits are similar to what Beavercreek, Fairborn, and the Ohio Legislature have used for years.
Issue 29: Pay Reform
Council has often voted themselves annual pay raises during their sitting terms. Council’s budget for salaries is over twice the average of other Dayton suburbs and much higher than Springfield, Beavercreek, Huber Heights, Oakwood, etc.
Our proposal would reset salaries to $8,000/year for city council and $12,000/year for mayor and require public disclosure of future increases before they are voted into law.
Times are tough. Good Stewardship of tax dollars should start with City Council. Our proposed Charter Amendments will bring Council and Mayoral pay back into alignment with neighboring cities, and encourage new leaders to run for election.