Troy officials seek cost-of-living salary increases

TROY — Troy City Council will review salary adjustments for elected officials for the cost of living increases at its next council meeting on April 5.

The last time elected official salaries were adjusted was in 2015, which adjusted salaries increases through 2019.

If approved by the council, the increases will not go into effect during his or her current term by state law.

If approved, the following positions’ salaries will increase beginning 2022-2024: nine city council members, president of council, and the treasurer. The proposed increases are 3 percent in 2022; 2.5 percent in 2023; and 2 percent in 2024.

The mayor’s, auditor’s, and law director’s salaries would increase at the beginning of their new four-year term in 2024. Those increases include 3 percent in 2024; 2.5 percent in 2025; and 2 percent in 2026.

Committee member Todd Severt asked during the committee meeting on March 22 if the percentages were an increase in the cost of living not a base pay of those salaries. Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington confirmed it was specifically a cost of living increase.

Committee member Bobby Phillips asked what would need to be done to not address the salary adjustments every so few years. Titterington said that is not possible due to state law.

Councilmember Jeff Schilling asked what it costs to provide health insurance for the mayor’s position.

According to Titterington, the mayor, president of council, auditor and law director are all allowed to be on the city’s health care plan.

“All who are on our HSA plan must pay 12 percent of the premium each month, or $2,255 of the $18,789 annual premium for our standard HSA family plan,” Titterington said in an email. “If they take our premium PPO plan, they must pay that same amount, plus they pay the total amount of the difference between the HSA and the PPO. If an eligible elected official opts out of our health care plan, they do not receive any compensation for not participating.”

For example, the mayor’s salary is currently $23,580 per year.

The council president’s annual salary is $8,980; each council member is paid $8,382 per year. The city’s treasurer’s salary is currently $5,375 per year.

The city auditor’s and law director’s salaries are currently $60,640 per year.

Troy resident Carri Walters shared a letter she wrote to the president of council regarding an increase in salary for the mayor’s elected position. Walters requested the finance committee research compensation for the mayor’s office “since the position of mayor is described as that of chief executive officer of the city.”

“It is clearly irregular then, that so many subordinate positions are compensated at levels so many times higher than the position of mayor. Consider, for example, the contrast in level of annual compensation between the mayor as the city’s CEO and the salary of her highest-ranking subordinate, the director of public service and safety.”

The director of public service and safety makes approximately $168,237 per year, according to the 2021 city budget.

Walters said Troy residents would “benefit from and are entitled to competitive elections that require candidates to articulate positions on a full range of issues that concern the community.”

“The mayor, as CEO of the city, must be experienced and versatile enough to engage in policy action on the city’s economic health, the operations of the city’s services and safety divisions, and partnership with the community’s educational and charitable institutions. While it is true that leadership is a service role, executive management and community relations are fields of distinct expertise. As such, the compensation for the role must be sufficient that qualified individuals can financially consider departing from the professional caliber positions that qualify them for the elected job in the first place,” she said.

Walters requested that the finance committee compare Troy’s salary to cities around Ohio that are similar in size, budget, and population as well as economic health, education, quality of life, safety and affordability.

Walters said, “An improved compensation level for Troy’s mayor should be established in advance of the deadline for candidates to declare their candidacy in the next primary election leading up to our next mayoral election. I can think of little else that City Council could do to more significantly affect the quality of leadership in Troy than to take this step to elevate the mayoral race to be a highly competitive one.”

Troy City Council’s next meet is at 7 p.m. Monday, April 5 at the Bravo Room at Hobart Arena.