Mayor Greg Ballard’s staff received a collective 18-percent raise this spring, following the hiring of a new deputy for education at $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 not a secret, former Chief of Staff Chris Cotterill said, but some members of the City-County Council 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. Ryan Vaughn, the Republican city-county councilor who left his law practice at Barnes & Thornburg, to succeed Cotterill as chief of staff is also earning $120,000.
Angela Mansfield, the Democratic councilor who heads the 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 by Gary Welsh.
Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter said all the raises were absorbed in the existing budget through attrition. The mayor's office total budget is about $3.7 million.
Ballard is now spending $990,000, and increase of about 18 percent, on salaries for the 14 staffers who received raises this spring and summer.
Mansfield said she had opposed the additional spending that was required to create Kloth’s position, though she voted for his appointment because of his qualifications.
Cotterill put through the raises before returning to private law practice at Fagre, Baker & Daniels, though the pay increase for 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, the long-term lease of city parking meters and the sale of the water utility to Citizens Gas, 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 other top deputies were earning because he was in a bidding war with the city of Chicago, Cotterill said. “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.