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Indy councilors kill proposal to double their pay

December 19, 2016

Members of the Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night killed a proposal to double their own pay without discussion.

The die was cast before Monday's meeting, as all of the council's Republicans and at least three Democrats indicated they would oppose the proposal to raise council pay from $11,400 per year to $25,000 per year. Democrats have a one-seat majority on the council.

Councilors voted Monday night to strike the proposal. They're expected to revisit the issue next year, since many members agree in principle that their pay is not in line with that of city officials in peer cities.

However, even councilors who thought the body deserved a pay raise said they thought the proposal was unpalatable because it didn’t come during the budget-writing process. In addition, one Democrat was worried about the appearance that councilors were acting only in their self-interest, while another was concerned with the ethics of voting for a pay raise while fighting against local layoffs ordered by Carrier Corp. and Rexnord Corp.

Council Vice President Zach Adamson, who put forward the proposal, told IBJ earlier Monday that he doubted it would pass, given the stated opposition.

Council pay was last adjusted in 2002. Adamson has pointed out in presentations to fellow members that council pay is well below that in other cities. For instance, in Carmel, annual council pay is more than $22,000. The city's population is less than 90,000, while Indianapolis counts about 850,000 residents.

Council President Maggie Lewis released a statement Monday evening indicating the proposal would be postponed due to the fact that the “state’s review of our 2017 budget will not be completed until after the first of the year.”

“Because of this delay, we have been left with no other alternative than to postpone this vote and any new budgetary expenditures until our city budget is approved,” Lewis said in the statement.

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