After much deliberation the Cleveland City Council voted Monday to create an ordinance that will raise the salary of the mayor to $40,000 per year.
Currently, the salary of Mayor Tom Rowland is only $12,000 annually.
While Councilmen Richard Banks, Dale Hughes and George Poe voted in favor of the ordinance, Councilmen Bill Estes, David May and Charlie McKenzie voted against it. Vice Mayor Avery Johnson had the final vote and his support let the ordinance pass.
Councilman Banks originally made a motion to change the salary to $50,000, but the motion failed. Vice Mayor Johnson had voted against this motion.
Councilman Hughes said, "He's been with us 23 years.
He's made a minimal amount of money. If you come here during the day, he's in his office or he's out representing us...I think he deserves it. He hasn't asked for this, he hasn't lobbied for this. But it's only fair to compensate him fairly."
Vice Mayor Johnson said, "I definitely know that he needs to be compensated more than $12,000 a year." Vice Mayor Johnson made a motion to raise the salary to $24,000 per year, but this motion also failed.
Councilman Banks said, "I don't know that we would have an exit 20, but for Tom Rowland. I don't know that we would have an airport but for Tom Rowland."
Councilman Hughes also pointed out that after Mayor Rowland eventually retires, a higher salary for the position would help attract better candidates. He said, "If you have someone who has a viable job and they would like to become involved in city government, they're going to have to have a good salary to do it."
The ordinance will go into effect in 2016. The second reading will take place during the next city council meeting.
During the meeting, a motion was also passed that allowed the city to give retiring Officer Lebron Ensley his service weapon, which was presented to him by Mayor Rowland.