Mayor, Council Announce Formation of Commission to Review Elected Official Pay

Columbus city councilColumbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and City Council President Andrew J. Ginther have announced the formation of the Citizens’ Commission on Elected Official Compensation. The five person commission will study and recommend compensation levels for the mayor, council, city attorney, and auditor adding an additional layer of citizen engagement and accountability to the process of setting future pay rates for elected officials in Columbus. The formation of the Commission was mandated by recent changes to the Columbus City Charter overwhelmingly supported by Columbus voters last November.

“The Commission places the power to decide the pay of elected leaders in the hands of the people,” said Mayor Coleman. “This is an emerging best practice used in major cities across the nation and Ohio, and it is the right thing to do.”

The Commission will be led by former City of Columbus Human Resources Director Chet Christie. Christie has decades of experience working in the public sector analyzing and negotiating compensation packages. Other commissioners include Dawn Tyler Lee, Senior Vice President of Community Impact for United Way of Central Ohio and Columbus attorney Marchelle E. Moore, Vice President of Legal & Government Affairs and General Counsel for the Central Ohio Transit Authority. Both Lee and Moore served on the Columbus Charter Review Commission which recommended the citizen review of elected official pay. They will be joined by William Murdock, Executive Director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Kristen Easterday, Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Local Government Relations.

“Each commission member brings a unique perspective on public service, and collectively, they represent stakeholders from the public, private, for-profit and nonprofit communities,” said Council President Ginther. “Most importantly, they will make informed recommendations that are in the public’s best interest and will assure elected officials remain accountable to the people they serve.”

The Commission will have three months to submit to the clerk a report of recommendations for the salary of each elective official of the city, including an annual cost of living adjustment which shall not exceed the average increase in the consumer price index during the preceding four years.

Under the Columbus City Charter, setting elected official salaries will still require a public vote of City Council, which may accept the commission’s recommendations or approve a lower pay scale. Council cannot exceed the commission’s recommendations.

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