Michael O’Brien, Glenn Holmes say they will donate raises
WARREN — State Reps. Michael J. O’Brien and Glenn Holmes twice supported legislation to give pay increases to state, county and township officials, but the Democrats now say they will give away the raise.
Both said they didn’t like that the proposal was attached to legislation that dealt with death benefits for survivors of fallen police officers and firefighters, and their support was of that, not the pay increase, when they voted to support the bill in the Ohio House earlier this month and on Thursday to override the veto of Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
They also said it wasn’t proper of them to accept the raise with residents in their districts experiencing financial hardship, especially in light of the General Motors plant in Lordstown set to be idled in March and the direct and indirect subsequent job loss caused by the automaker’s decision.
“I didn’t like the fact it (the death benefit) was combined with the raises. That was not a dynamic I put together,” said Holmes, D-Girard. “I wanted to see them separated and the new General Assembly pick it (pay raise legislation) up after the first of the year.”
Said O’Brien, “As a member of the finance committee, we heard four days of testimony from widows of police officers killed in the line of duty, heart-wrenching testimony. I voted against the pay raise amendment (in committee) to that important bill. That bill (the death benefits) had been floundering in the House for two sessions. I felt there had been enough time and enough discussion given to it.”
So the two said they will give away the raise that increases the base salary of statewide officials and state lawmakers by 4 percent in 2019 and 2020, 3 percent in 2021, and then 1.75 percent a year through 2028.
Holmes said he would give his to local job training and retraining programs and O’Brien, D-Warren, said his would go to St. John Paul II Church in Warren.
The base salary for lawmakers, except those in leadership positions, goes from $60,584 now to $63,007 in 2019. The bill also increases stipends for members serving as chairs, vice chairs and ranking members of committees.
An examination by the nonpartisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission shows the raises for the statewide elected officials — governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state and treasurer — will cost $173,000 through 2028.
For the 99-member House, payroll will increase by $1.5 million through 2028 and in the 33-member Senate, assuming none of the 17 members that start new terms next year are in leadership positions, the cost is $586,000 through 2028, according to the commission.
The bill also increases the pay of judges on the Ohio Supreme Court and appeals, common pleas, municipal and county courts 1.75 percent per year over the next nine years.
County commissioners, auditors, treasurers, recorders, engineers, coroners and clerks of court will receive 5 percent increases next year and in 2020 and then 1.75 percent a year through 2028. However, the commission notes only county auditors and one commissioner in each county would receive the increase in 2019 because the bill applies to someone who begins a new term.
The commission estimates payroll costs will increase $685,000 next year and $5.6 million in 2021, when all other elected officials begin a new term and are eligible for the increase. Additional payroll could cost as much as $8.4 million statewide among counties from 2022 to 2028, according to the commission.
The bill also gives 1.75 percent increases to county sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys 2020 through 2028 and 1.75 percent to township trustees and fiscal officers next year to 2028. The salary for trustees and fiscal officers is determined based on the size of the township’s budget.
Next year, the fiscal officer and one trustee will receive the raise. The remaining two trustees will get the increase in 2021.
The commission estimates additional payroll could reach $13.4 million for townships through 2028, assuming all trustees are paid for the maximum 200 days permitted in Ohio law.
Also receiving a 1.75 percent increase through 2028 are members of county elections boards.