Council shelves 120% salary increase proposal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A proposal that would have more than doubled the salary for members of the Indianapolis City-County Council pulled from the agenda just before the meeting Monday night.

But it’s likely to be brought back next month.

While on one hand it would have given members a 120% increase, it would have been the first salary increase in 18 years.

Democratic party leaders said pulling the item is an acknowledgment of the reality that with Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) saying he would veto the proposal, there was not enough time in the year or this term to override any veto.

Since 2002, the council is paid on a formula which is 12% of the mayor’s $95,000 salary. That comes out to $11,400. The proposal would have given them 16% of a Superior Court judge’s salary which is about $155,000, giving them a salary of about $25,000.

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Council members hope the switch would have also made it less of a political battle in the future because judge’s salaries rise every couple years with cost of living adjustments.

“We’re still not at the level we should be when you consider our salary and our work and size of our districts,” said Majority Leader Maggie Lewis (D). “We’re still at the bottom when it comes to our salary. We’re not trying to get rich just recognize it’s been 18 years since we’ve had a raise.”

Lewis said she expects some conversations with the mayor’s office but for it to be re-introduced in January possibly with some adjustments.

“I think it is smart they postponed it, pull it to next year and reinstate it,” said incoming Minority Leader Brian Mowery (R). “Give us more time to tweak it, stew on it. I think it is self-serving to give ourselves a pay raise.”

Mowery said pulling the proposal was a surprise to him. He adds he would like to see it be more of a gradual increase and go into effect in 2024 rather than 2020.

Beginning in January, Democrats will hold a supermajority of council seats so the wording of any proposal will likely be largely shaped by Democratic council members.