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Ind. city officials approve 7% pay raise for firefighters

Goshen city leaders approved raises after an independent study reviewed municipal jobs


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By Dani Messick
Goshen News

GOSHEN, Ind. — The city of Goshen is working to revamp jobs and compensation within municipal positions and leadership in order to bring it in line with real-world practices. The move is ahead of budget approval, with more changes expected near the end of 2023 or the start of 2024. A total of $200,000 in pay increases will be occurring across city employees.

In June, the city hired Baker Tilly for a study that overhauled the city’s municipal jobs. The process included job descriptions, compensation changes, and position streamlining.

During Monday night’s Goshen City Council meeting, the city passed ordinances for compensation for civil city and utility employees, elected officials, the fire department, and the police department.

Dan Hedden, partner at Baker Tilly, said the company performed studies and realignment for 150 jobs within the city.

On Monday, Goshen Mayor Gina Leichty asserted, that the council only passed the new wage ordinances for the city under the current system. She added that before the end of the year, the wages will be reevaluated under the new structure developed by Baker Tilly.

“Essentially, what is happening is we’re taking 36 wage categories and classifications and reducing that to 24, so somebody who is now at a level 17 may be at a level 14 because there will be fewer classifications,” Leichty said. “It won’t impact people’s overall salary in that process.”

All civil and city employees’ ungraded positions received a 5% raise instead of 3.5%. The police department will be receiving a 7-15% depending on the position, and the fire department will be receiving a 7% raise. Elected officials will be receiving a 3.5% raise.

An amendment to the mayoral salary ordinance for a compensation increase of $5,000 for the mayor for longevity was eliminated to zero.

During public comment, Goshen resident Terry Hartman cautioned the council on municipal compensation.

“I think you’d have a hard sale trying to tell any of the citizens that $105,638 is not enough compensation for the mayor’s job,” he said. “I don’t know how much work the mayor’s job is. I don’t know how much work the deputy mayor does, but I think these are all factors that need to be discussed when considering the mayor’s wage.”

During the last public discussion during the last city council meeting, councilman Brett Weddell compared the mayor’s position to that of people in the private sector and compensation based on similar titles.

“To be clear,” Leichty said following Hartman’s comments, “the discussion had last time was actually about reducing the mayor’s salary, not increasing it.”

Hartman explained that the minutes expressed consideration of raises by Weddell.

Several people who had voted for a mayoral increase originally, agreed to the lack of increase after. What they said was they had a better understanding of the facts and mayoral pay ranges throughout comparative communities in Indiana. Council members Megan Eichorn and Brett Weddell voted against the amendment eliminating the pay increase.

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