January 18, 2012


Mayor: Change how manager salaries set

Staff Reporter

The city Common Council passed a resolution Tuesday that would allow the city to adjust the salaries of department heads and mayoral appointees, though Mayor Brian Tobin offered few specifics on the plan.
Tobin said the city is crafting a salary proposal relating to department heads and appointees but declined to elaborate.
In October, the city passed the “1973 resolution,” which guarantees that city department heads receive at least the same salary increases and benefits as the unionized employees in their departments.
Tobin expressed some general concerns about the resolution and whether it was ultimately in the city’s best interest for department heads’ salaries to be tied to union negotiations.
Tobin voted in favor of the 1973 resolution when it came to the council on Oct 4. The resolution passed 7-0, with former Alderman Stephanie Hayes absent.
Tobin said the city has a “draft-form” proposal that will come before the council at its Feb. 2 meeting. He said the proposal could lead to higher salaries for some and lower salaries for others, but offered no specifics.
“The final product is going to speak for itself,” Tobin said.
He said he did not want to speak about the plan until the proposal is finalized. He said the city was looking for an “amicable” solution for everyone involved.
Cortland Police Chief F. Michael Catalano said he would wait to comment until after he had a chance to talk with city officials about the plan.
In other business Tuesday, the city continued to discuss the formation of a committee system. The goal is to get four of the committees — housing, personnel, government efficiency and the city’s image — up and running by February.
Members of the Common Council said they would look to establish goals for the committees during their first meetings. Alderman Dan Quail (R-5th Ward) said it was important for the committees to set priorities.
“We really need to be organized around these projects,” Quail said.
The committees will be seeking input from residents and local experts, though it is unclear whether those groups will sit on the committees. The council is still working to establish monthly schedules for the meetings.
Alderman Katy Silliman (D-2nd Ward) will be on the housing committee and said she wanted to open it to the public and work with landlords, SUNY Cortland, residents and anyone who might be interested in the committee.
Alderman Tom Michales (R-8th Ward) said he wants to see if the city can have trash thrown out around downtown picked up on weekends. The city has a contract with Casella Waste Services to pick up the downtown trash on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Tobin suggested the issue could be handled by the committee focused on improving the city’s image.
Aldermen Quail, Julie Bird (D-1st Ward) and Linda Ferguson (D- 7th Ward) serve on the committee.
Tobin said he has been receiving questions about when the council meetings will air on television. He said Tuesday’s meeting will air on the local Time Warner Cable public access Channel 2 at 8 p.m. tonight, 10:30 a.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Monday.


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