December 1, 2015

Mayor Ballard On Possible Raises: It's Being Done In The 'Political Dark of Night'

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. (file photo) - Ryan Delaney/WFYI

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. (file photo)

Ryan Delaney/WFYI

INDIANAPOLIS -- Mayor Greg Ballard doesn’t argue against that the $95,000 base salary for mayor of Indy is low compared to other major metros, but the Republican is not entirely on board with a proposed $30,000 increase being pushed by some city councilors right before new terms begin Jan. 1.

Ballard, who is stepping down after two terms on the 25th floor of the City-County Building, says efforts to give his successor and members of the city council substantial raises is being done in “the political dark of night.” 

"If this was done in March or April or something like that, in the light of day where everybody could kind of comment on it and people would be held accountable in future elections because of it, that would be a different story," he said in an interview. "I think we could have a good discussion at that point in time."

Outgoing Democratic councilor Mary Moriarty Adams says a salary bump for the mayor and $4,000 more for councilors are long overdue. It’s been more than a decade since the last one.

"It's something my colleagues and I have wanted to do for awhile," she said prior to Monday's council meeting, when the measure was introduced and sent to committee.

The minority council leader, Republican Mike McQuillen, comes down in the middle.

"I think if you asked 29 councilors right now if they think Indianapolis city councilmen and the mayor are underpaid, I think they would say 'yes,'" McQuillen said. "And if you ask those same 29 councilors if it should be changed this month, I think the answer would be 'I don't know.'"

It will be up to Ballard to sign or veto the raises, if they get through the council this month. He declined to say what he’ll do. "I don't want to play my hand yet," he said.

The fatter paycheck would benefit the Mayor-elect, Democrat Joe Hogsett, who ran a campaign on fiscal prudence. He’s leaving the decision to the current leadership.

He was asked about it first by WFYI last week. "Obviously, I did not run for this position because I was concerned about the salary," he said.

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