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Girard shelves officials’ pay raises

Council could return to topic next spring

GIRARD — After the promise by Mayor James Melfi to veto any pay-raise legislation, city council on Monday voted to table until next year pay raises for council members, council president and the treasurer.

Councilman-at-Large Sam Zirafi asked at Monday’s council meeting to table the legislation on any pay raises at least until next spring — after the new council terms begin in 2022.

“What is being proposed does not go into effect until two years, so we will table and not rush through this,” Zirafi said.

Melfi said he was pleased with council’s action.

“No veto will be necessary. We are going into a negotiation year with the different employees and unions. We will have to see what happens next year with contract talks,” Melfi said.

Officials have said council members and the council president currently make $7,900 annually, which does not qualify for credit toward the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System because the figure is too low.

Being proposed was to increase the pay for council and council president in 2024 to $8,658. Other increases would be to $8,811 in 2025, $8,964 in 2026, $9,123 in 2027, $9,287 in 2028, and $9,443 in 2029.

The treasurer would receive $8,964 in January 2026 — just $2 more than the salary now — to meet the minimum required for Ohio PERS.

Second Ward Councilman Mark Standohar said the raises being proposed would not be given to council serving in 2022 or 2023.

Resident Fran Wilson, a former councilwoman, said she was concerned about the proposed raises and questioned how many committee meetings are being held in the past two years after reviewing council meeting minutes.

“If you are seeking a raise, then you need to be doing your job. If you are in charge of a committee, you need to have meetings,” Wilson said.

She said no one currently on council is being challenged in the November general election.

Councilman-at-Large John Moliterno said council members attend the finance meetings.

In other business, Melfi said he has spoken to representatives of RT Vernal Paving and Excavating of North Lima about street paving work this fall in the city and learned the company is backed up.

Melfi said rather than wait and have paving done in mid-November when the weather may be bad, the city may wait until next spring and have the company do the streets planned for this year with those for next year.

“We are disappointed the streets may not get paved this year,” he said.

Melfi said he believes it is better to wait.

Zirafi said the paving should be postponed and the work could be rebid early next year possibly for a better price.

“Paving in November may not be worth it. The weather could be cold. We do not want to waste the money,” 4th Ward Councilman Thomas Grumley said.

Wilson of Ella Street said parts of her road already are bad and wondered if it would get worse during the winter.

Also, Melfi reported Saia LTL Freight, a trucking company, has moved into the former Old Dominion property on North State Street. He said before closing, Old Dominion provided the city $35,000 annually in income tax and the city hopes the new business also will do that.

“We hope the new company provides us with the same, which will be a quick turnaround,” Melfi said.

The trucking business has access to Interstate 80, state Route 11 and U.S. Route 422.

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