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Batavia council balks at cutting alderman pay

Updated: November 18, 2012 6:47AM

BATAVIA — Unable to reach a consensus, Batavia aldermen will continue their discussion on whether to reduce their pay for attendance at City Council meetings.

“I disagree with the aldermen’s compensation being decreased — in the scope of things it is peanuts,” Alderman David Brown said at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Aldermen are required by municipal code to review the compensation for elected officials prior to the next four-year term going into effect, to avoid salary decisions being made during an elected official’s current term in office.

The Government Services Committee has recommended the $200 per City Council meeting salary for aldermen be reduced by 10 percent. Aldermen earn roughly $4,800 a year for the elected office.

The reduction would be effective May 1, 2013, for seven of the 14 aldermen whose seats are open in the April 9 municipal election, and affect the remaining aldermen in 2015.

Alderman Dan Chanzit said he, too, was not in favor of reducing the salaries. He suggested the City Council maintain the pay and aldermen make a charitable contribution.

“None of us do this job for the money,” he said. “I see an opportunity rather than cut half of the aldermen’s pay, we encourage the aldermen to donate a paycheck to the Batavia ACCESS committee,” Chanzit said.

Alderman Jim Volk, who originally suggested the 10 percent pay reduction, said while the savings is not significant, it would show aldermen “are serious about cost-cutting and understand the economy is still weak and others are still struggling.”

Alderman Eldon Frydendall offered an amendment to make the reduction from $200 to $180 per City Council meeting effective May 2015 to avoid having a staggered pay scale. Although that amendment passed, aldermen voted 8-5 to reject the ordinance entirely.

Aldermen then voted 10-3 to send the compensation review back to committee.

Aldermen supported increasing the city clerk’s compensation by 5 percent to reflect the level of work involved for the position, and freezing the mayoral salary for the next four-year term. The mayoral position, per city ordinance, pays $26.05 an hour and not to exceed $2,605 a month.

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