GOSHEN — The latest try at raising the Goshen mayor’s compensation was reversed by a 6-0 vote.
Goshen City Council members on Tuesday night passed a 2020 compensation ordinance for elected officials that sets the mayor’s pay at $93,418. They first approved an amendment which undid the action they had taken during the first-reading vote on Aug. 6, which would have given the mayor just over $100,000 a year.
They voted 6-0 for the amendment, with one pass, then unanimously approved the ordinance itself. Councilman Doug Nisley did not vote on the amendment.
Councilman Brett Weddell proposed both amendments. He said earlier this month that the mayor’s position is the face of the city and deserves higher pay but moved Tuesday to go back to the original biweekly salary of $3,593.
He proposed the new amendment after council discussed how the mayor’s pay compares to other city positions, and the possibility of doing a more comprehensive wage study before raising the mayor’s pay alone. Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said the last time the city did a full wage study was 1996, though that was not the only time in the past 23 years the city took a close look at wages.
A 2018 gross pay report shows that the mayor was the sixth-highest paid position, at $89,178. It was below several department heads and engineers as well as the city attorney and city judge, and a little above the chiefs of the police and fire departments.
Clerk-Treasurer Angie McKee said a similar report for the first seven months of 2019 puts the mayor at seventh place.
Councilman Mike Orgill later proposed an amendment to eliminate the raise for council members included in the compensation ordinance. It failed on a 6-1 vote.
The ordinance sets council salaries at $573 biweekly.
Orgill said he doesn’t believe elected officials should receive market-rate pay.
“I just wanna be clear, I’m not doing this for the money,” he said. “And I want people elected who aren’t either.”
“I don’t think there’s a risk of that with our current pay,” Councilwoman Julia King remarked, drawing laughter.
Councilwoman Julia Gautsche said that in the past, council members didn’t give raises to themselves when they couldn’t also increase the salaries of city employees. Stutsman, a former council member, encouraged them to keep the pay increase intact.
Councilman Adam Scharf said ahead of the vote that “raise” is a less accurate term than cost of living adjustment when discussing the 2.5 percent increase.
“That’s an inflationary adjustment. It is just preventing a decrease in pay, effectively,” he said.