The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2024

City Council schedules special meeting

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

On the heels of a veto of scheduled pay raises, a special meeting has been called by Van Wert City Council to discuss the rate of pay for council members.

A “Council of the Whole” meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 6. The meeting will be held in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St. It’s open to the public, but no action is expected at the meeting.

A “Council of the Whole” meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 6. The meeting will be a forum for council members to discuss the rate of pay for council. The meeting is open to the public. VW independent file photo

During city council’s regular meeting on Monday, Mayor Ken Markward announced he was vetoing raises approved by council members on August 14 (see story here). Before the veto, annual salaries of ward and at-large council members were set to increase from $4,900 to $6,100, and from $5,500 to $6,700 for the council president, effective with the next term, which begins in January. Council previously discussed a smaller increase to $5,390 for ward and at-large members, $6,050 for the council president.

Markward then compared city council’s duties to those of the Van Wert City Schools Board of Education and made note of some differences.

“The school board directly hires and could fire the superintendent and the treasurer,” he said. “City Council does not hire or fire anyone. It does not review applications, conduct interviews or make disciplinary decisions. This is because council members are not part of the executive branch of government.”

He also pointed out that school board members generally meet once a month and are paid $125 per meeting for an annual salary of $1,500. Van Wert City Council meets twice a month, or 24 times per year.

After announcing the veto, his first, Markward recommended city council draft a new ordinance that would set council pay at $3,000 and $3,500 for the council president.

Van Wert City Council also has the option to try to override Markward’s veto, but will need at least five votes to do it. When council voted to approve the raises, four members – Bill Marshall, Jeff Kallas, Jeff Agler and Andrew Davis – voted in favor, while three others – Judy Bowers, David Stinnett and Julie Moore voted no. Council President Jerry Mazur doesn’t vote unless there’s a tie. If there’s an attempt to override the veto, it would most likely come at the September 11 regular meeting.

POSTED: 08/31/23 at 3:54 am. FILED UNDER: News