City officials donate some pay to help budget

SANDUSKY When it comes to the city, giving apparently begets more giving. Last month,
May 24, 2010



When it comes to the city, giving apparently begets more giving.

Last month, city commissioner Dave Waddington and the city's firefighters donated parts of their salaries back to the city. On Wednesday, city manager Matt Kline, law director Don Icsman and finance director Ed Widman said they'll do the same.

Kline, Icsman and Widman announced via "City Chat," Kline's e-newsletter, they were each giving 80 hours of their salaries back to Sandusky, which is facing its worst financial crisis in recent memory.

The move will save Sandusky about $13,500, with each donating slightly less than 4 percent of his salary.

"Mr. Waddington stepped up, the fire department stepped up ... so we just decided to give back 80 hours," Kline said. "I guess I'm hoping others follow."

Kline's not yet sure how the donations will be implemented. He said one possibility will be to take small amounts from each paycheck through the rest of the year. Kline and Icsman said the trio has discussed the possibility for several weeks.

"It's the right thing to do," Icsman said. "This is extraordinary stuff we've got going on here in terms of the economy."

According to the city's finance committee, the city could be in a $2 million deficit by the end of 2011 if it doesn't cut spending or increase its income.

The city is also scheduled to begin negotiations with its unions soon, and that deficit could rise if the unions get raises in their contracts or income continues to slide.

The city has placed a 0.25 percent income tax increase on the November ballot and also asked the unions to donate 40 hours of pay back to the city, but neither of those are guaranteed.

Last month, commissioner Waddington announced he will donate 10 percent of his $5,000 salary back to the city to help with its financial pressures.

"My point is we all need to chip in a little bit," Waddington said at the time. "We're spiraling downhill. I need money like everybody else, but I'm looking at the big picture. ... I'm hoping other people (at City Hall) do the same."

Icsman said Waddington's decision influenced others at City Hall. A short time later, the firefighters agreed to donate 0.5 percent of their salaries back to the city.

"He's always inspiring in that respect," Icsman said of Waddington, who also donated $10,000 to the city in his first term as commissioner. "He's done it. He's given back, and not just in that way but in his time with cleanups and the different donations he gives to the causes he believes in."

Icsman said he's happy more people at 222 Meigs St. are contributing.

"It's nice to know everyone from top down is doing what they can," he said.

In Wednesday's edition of "City Chat," Kline said many small contributions can affect big change.

"Although this may be small, we believe together we can make a difference," he wrote.