Mayor Under Fire for Staff Raises
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard will release the new city budget in roughly two weeks.
At the same time the city is trying to close a $60 million public safety budget gap, 15 members of the mayor's staff have received pay increases averaging 18 percent per position.
"The key is, we've got to live within our means, reduce the spending, then if you come in under budget, then you have the flexibility to do some things," said Ballard's spokesman Marc Lotter. "That's what happened in the mayor's office, and the mayor would encourage all of his directors and all of the county agencies to do the same."
An executive assistant's salary is jumping from $45,000 to more than $52,000, a 17 percent increase.
The veteran's service officer will now make $50,000, a 25 percent increase.
The deputy chief of staff is getting a $20,000 raise, an increase of 31 percent.
The mayor's office also added a deputy mayor for education with a salary of about $120,000.
"These salary increases are bringing parity to the office, especially when you had the new deputy mayor of education that began, we wanted to make sure the other deputy mayors were compensated accordingly," Lotter said.
"Quite frankly, I think it's obscene, given our current budget situation, given that we're not properly funding agencies such as Animal Care and Control," said Democratic City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield. "There's discussion that there's going to have to be cut backs in public safety, so this was just unconscionable to give these types of salaries."
The city also made a point of mentioning raises that were given to metro police officers, but police didn't receive a raise in 2011, and for 2012 they're only getting 1 percent.
In the mayor's office, raises range from 6 percent to 31 percent, totaling almost $155,000.
"If the mayor was able to find efficiencies in his own budget, he should have taken those funds and taken it back to the general fund so that we could properly fund the other things that are core responsibilities," Mansfield said.
"The city is doing its part to maintain its commitment to public safety and we'll do everything we can to work within the budget constraints to keep that commitment up."
The mayor's office is insisting that the raises come from savings within the office's budget and won't require extra funding.