NILES Council to study raising pay for officials

Some officials are paid less than their counterparts in similar cities throughout the state.
NILES -- Council members are considering pay raises for officials who would take office in 2004.
Councilman Robert L. Marino, who heads council's finance committee, has been researching how salaries for mayor, auditor, law director, council members and council president compare to those in cities of similar size throughout the state.
According to information from the Ohio Municipal League, the city ranks below average in many cases.
Marino said council will look only at salaries for those whose elected terms end in 2003.
"The other officials will still be in office then," he said.
By law, pay increases cannot go into effect for officials still in office.
The mayor makes $45,000 a year; the auditor, $38,000; the law director, $35,000; council members, $6,000 each; and council president, $6,300.
The Municipal League's 2002 survey of salaries of elected and appointed officials shows some of those figures meet the average for comparable cities, but others are far less.
The report says there are 58 cities in the state roughly the same size as Niles that operate with a mayor, a city council and no mayor's court.
The average salary for mayors in such cities is $62,054.
Auditors or finance directors average $51,791, and law directors average $51,874 in similar cases, the report said.
Council members average $5,828; council presidents, $6,974.
Council will study the report and decide what to do about salaries.
Council President Fremont Camerino, who will conduct committee meetings on the matter, suggested that any recommendation council make on pay raises be thoroughly investigated and a unanimous decision be reached.
He suggested not only getting input from residents on the matter, but also interviewing former mayors and other city officials for their suggestions.
Any legislation on possible pay raises would be introduced by the Nov. 6 meeting, which would allow enough time for three full readings and approval before the filing deadline for candidates running for the office in 2003.

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