Dems grumbling over big raises for Ballard's staff

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Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s staff received a collective 18-percent raise this spring following the hiring of a new deputy for education with an annual salary of $120,000.

Ballard in March hired Jason Kloth, a former senior vice president at Washington, D.C.-based Teach for America, as his first deputy mayor for education. Kloth’s salary was never a secret, former Chief of Staff Chris Cotterill said, but some members of the City-County Council now are grumbling behind the scenes about the cascade of raises that followed.

Deputy mayors Michael Huber and Olgen Williams now make $120,000, a 23-percent increase each. And Ryan Vaughn, the Republican city-county councilor who left his law practice at Barnes & Thornburg to succeed Cotterill as chief of staff, also was given a salary of $120,000—$22,150 more than Cotterill.

Angela Mansfield, the Democrat who heads the council's administration and finance committee, said she "definitely was not aware" that others on Ballard's staff received raises after Kloth was hired. She said she first read about it on the Advance Indiana blog.

"[Kloth's hiring is] not an excuse for upping all those other salaries," she said.

Ballard is now spending $990,000, an increase of about 18 percent, on salaries for the 14 staffers who received raises this spring and summer.

Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter said all the raises were absorbed in the existing budget through attrition. Cotterill said he moved some money allocated for professional services to salaries to make room for the new deputy of education job. The total budget for the mayor's office is about $3.7 million.

Cotterill put through the raises before returning to private law practice at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, but the pay increase for the chief of staff didn't take effect until Vaughn came on the job.

Cotterill said Ballard has recruited a talented staff, and he believes all the raises were justified.

Vaughn is praised on both sides of the aisle, Cotterill said, and he took a significant pay cut to work full-time in the public sector. Huber has executed two major privatization deals that are saving the city money (the long-term lease of city parking meters and the sale of the water utility), and Williams provides Ballard with a strong connection to the faith-based community, he said.

Ballard had to pay Kloth far more than the $97,850 that his other deputies were earning because he was in a bidding war with the city of Chicago, Cotterill said.

“(Chicago Mayor) Rahm Emmanuel himself was trying to get Jason Kloth,” he said.

Once Kloth was in the door, Cotterill thought it made sense to bring others up to his level.

Raises for 11 other staff members range from 31 percent for Deputy Chief of Staff Amy Waggoner, now earning $85,000, to 6 percent for an executive assistant, now earning $52,500.

Lotter, who also got a boost, from $95,000 to $105,000, said the raises reflect the fact that many people have taken on additional duties.


  • Parks
    I just read an article about how some of the city's parks are in a state of decline. Indeed, some of them look like places in Detroit. Then, why are we paying the parks director a $95k salary when there are such lousy results? I would recommend looking into some of the other staff members who are doing "a great job". Oh wait, what about Frank Straub and all of the IPD bungles? We have such a great team
  • Raises
    It's hard to find extra money in various departments when every other budget in the City is being cut. Most salaried staff haven't had raises since 2005, as opposed to Union staff who have had one almost every year.
  • Raises
    It's strange how very few employees (other than union employees who have received as much as 4% a year) have received a raise since 2005 and then only 2.5% if they were very lucky. The City is losing some of their most valuable employees because of this.
  • wrong office
    I have been in the wrong office for 21 years!! I thought I was doing the right thing in caring for the citizens of Indianapolis and serving them but I guess that doesn't feed my family does it?
  • Sad, Very Sad!
    Unlike the private sector, the mayor does not have to worry about Top Line Revenue and Bottom Line Results. It appears that budget issues will impact the services of the Fire and Police Departments, but that can be remedied by a possible cut in wages, as other cities have elected to impose on the rank-and-file. I wonder why the mayor did not look to the projected National GDP numbers, and assign a pay increase that was more inline with overall growth figures of 2% to 3%? Please forgive me, I just realized that government does not operate on a Profit/Loss System, and the money spent is nothing more than local taxes and use permit revenues. Is it too late to apply for a position on the mayor's staff?
  • Huber
    Huber should get a pay cut for that idiotic parking meter privatization deal that will cost this city about a billion dollars in lost revenue. And does anyone think Lotter is worth $105,000? He is at best a $35,000 employee if he had to go work at a PR firm.
  • Get great people, pay for great people
    If these folks are great seems fair and reasonable to pay a discount of market wages for them. If we want exceptional folks in city and government leadership we have to be willing to pay. Would rather 1 great person for $120K than 4 mediocre people for $30K.
  • Mayor Ballard is a walking contradiction
    He can afford to give (I mean graft) $6 million to an Egyptian campaign donor to build a private parking garage for which the city gets $0 revenues and his former staff now works (nice revolving door).He can lease for 50 years the parking meters to ACS for some small cut of revenues(complete wasting of taxpayers assets-criminal).. He can afford to let Straub continue to stay on indefinitely because the big mouth cannot get a job to due to his totalitarian leadership style and poor financial stewardship in previous and his current position. He sold off water company assets and BLEW the money on complete nonsense. He has not fixed any roads or sidewalks in any material way on the southside(likely other suburbs as well) but he blows it in the downtown TIF.He continues to blow money on the CIB, ICVA, Promote downtown expansion of TIF districts, give millions to the Pacers(without financial statement disclosure from the Pacers Sports Corp.) and now double digit RAISES to his insiders who probably no where all the pooh is -Straub included. A tax increase is coming for all the regular taxpayers in Marion County so he can keep scamming all of us while providing no or limited services and lacking transparency at every step and not requiring the PACERS to open up the books if they need CORPORATE WELFARE. RECALL BALLARD and investigate his administration. He is no better than Brizzi, the State IURC -Hardy, Duke executives in dealing with IURC, and Bales. Ballard's budget was a mess before the Nov Election and he lied and hid all of this BS. That is why he has to buy off the silence of those around him. If this were a Publicly traded company he would be in criminal jeopardy for concealment of FACTS. The nonsense in public safety has been going on for months? SHOW US THE NUMBERS!!! Where is MCQUAID, KENNEY and Channel 13 "Investigates" reporter.
  • Indy under pays
    I work for a similar sized city with a 10% higher cost of living. I'd love to return to Indianapolis, but similar professional level positions there pay 30% less. Perhaps the upper-level employees mentioned were equally underpaid? But I'd guess they just received the wage increases due everyone beneath them.
  • correction
    The following statement has not been proven (in best case you can call it a guess): "Huber has executed two major privatization deals that are saving the city money (the long-term lease of city parking meters and the sale of the water utility)". First one basically raised rates (no real savings). And as far as the second deal, it's too early to tell. I don't mind paying city folks market rates; however, raising everyone's pay just because you hired someone new at the higher pay is kind of stupid. And yes, they are paying their admin $52.5K.
    • City Employee
      Did you know what the job paid when you accepted it? Did they promise you a raise every year? Were you greatful when they hired you? If you don't like it, quit! You can be replaced very easily.
      • Salary study needed
        Mayor's office probably should have done a salary study first (maybe they did and we don't know)? Any HR comp person will tell you salaries are based on a combo of the position's responsibilities and who you're competing against for talent. My guess is that deputy mayors in comparable cities to Indy earn more than what Ballard is paying even now. It's all relative, even for government work.
      • The Other Issues Are The Concern
        I do not have a problem with the raises, per se. Quite frankly, the positions are upper-management positions for a city of about 830,000 people. Comparable positions in the private sector would pay quite a bit more, and I think for the public sector the pay is commensurate with the responsibilities and job expectations. That said, I am concerned about the raises being given within the context of a looming budget deficit, the underfunded city services, and the fact that other city employees have had minimal raises. If the Mayor were addressing the above issues, then most people would not be concerned about the raises for his deputy mayors. However, it is presently very concerning that he has failed to develop and implement a strategic plan to address the challenges the city faces.
      • Not Enough $ for Me to Do It
        If I were Ryan Vaughn and had to work with the Council Democrats, $120,000 isn't nearly enough money. As long as the budget is close to the same and these raises truly came out of attrition of other jobs whose responsibilities were merged into the deputies' roles, I don't see why anyone would have a problem with this seemingly strong talent attraction/retention strategy.
        • Bait n' Switch...
          Be careful what you vote for....he is our ELECTED city Mayor. So, don't grumble now if you voted for him, and don't say a word if you didn't even bother to vote!
        • When
          When will we hear from the Mayor himself? When will some reporter work up the courage to actually demand to speak to the Mayor on these matters. If refused, when will some reporter write "The Mayor declined to comment."
        • Can't Justify These Raises
          In this economy with people losing their jobs and those who are employed fearing job loss, and with public safety budget shortfalls, these raises can't be justified.
          • Where's my raise
            I have 10+ years invested with the City. still making less than $25,000. I don't know what a raise is. Where is the incentive. The motivation level is very low in my office. I'm finding out it all depends on which office you are in ???? I'm deffinitly in the wrong office.
            • I need a Gov. job
              Wow, I need to go to work for the Mayor. He giving money away like water. Does he know the $$ from the sale of water company, will dry up ? None of those boys are worth that kind of cash.
            • Me Too!
              If it weren't for this stupid wage freeze in my private sector job, maybe I'd get a raise too...
            • Crooks
              Ask every other City worker how many of their duties the Mayor's Office has taken over. Rank and file workers haven't received any pay increase since 2009, and there are less of them being asked to do the same amount or more work.

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