In one of his last moves as Mayor of Zanesville, Howard Zwelling vetoed an ordinance passed on Tuesday, which would have given pay raises to 4 of Zanesville’s elected officials, including Mayor-Elect, Jeff Tilton.
WHIZ sat down with Zwelling to discuss his decision.
Mayor Zwelling said the reasons for the veto were not complicated at all.
"I’ve refused to sign it, and I’ve done what The Ohio Revised Code says to do." said Zwelling
In a copy of the veto, given to WHIZ, Mayor Zwelling said he believes the pay raises would undermine the financial state of the city, and would make on-going negotiations with public workers, all but impossible.
In addition to the incoming Mayor, Ordinance 11-91-Amended would have given a 2.5% pay increase over the next 4 years to the City Auditor, Treasurer, and Law Director.
The outgoing Mayor does believe that Zanesville’s elected officials are underpaid, but said they knew how much they would make when seeking office.
"They all deserve a pay raise, and they should hire a consultant and let him do his thing, and have him recommend how much each office should be paid, and they should pass an ordinance before the next election. and give people an opportunity to react to it."
However, City Treasurer, Paul DuBeck said, that’s just not possible.
"Elected officials are only allowed one pay raise every four years. Once your term begins, you are not eligible for a pay raise, so you must ask for a pay raise before you go into office, as the mayor knows, because he was more than happy to do that for himself four years ago." replied DuBeck.
DuBeck introduced the ordinance at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
He said the ordinance had to be passed by the end of the year, and that delays on public worker contract negotiations meant he had no choice but to wait to introduce the ordinance during the last council meeting of 2011.
It was a move that Zwelling believed to be rushed.
"I regret that my last act as Mayor had to come to this, but I have always done what I thought was best for the people of the city of Zanesville." added Zwelling
Council will not be meeting to over turn the veto, as council has to wait at least 7 days after passing the ordinance, which would fall after the first of the year, when the pay-raises would have taken effect.
Their next chance to vote on a pay raise will be 2015.