20 city employees get raises

There’s apparently enough flexibility in Sandusky’s cash-strapped, taxpayer-backed budget to spit out raises.
Andy Ouriel
May 2, 2014


Despite cutting $1.1 million in services earlier this year, along with facing upcoming fiscal challenges, city commissioners still approved raises for about 20 non-union employees, effective immediately.

During one year’s time, the raises equate to about a $25,000 payout in city funds. The amount factors in salaries, pensions, medical benefits and other costs.

Commissioners Brady, Murray Jr. discuss city raises

This $25,000 piggybacks off an estimated $130,000 in elevated pay union employees should receive in 2014. In mid-2013, commissioners agreed to three separate three-year union contracts, in which fire, police and non-safety service employees receive a 1.5 percent raise in each contract year, equaling the same rate nonbargaining employees just obtained for 2014.

The city’s highest-paid administrators — the fire chief, police chief, finance director and others — are grouped within this nonbargaining category slated to receive raises. Among those obtaining a pay boost: law director and interim city manager Don Icsman, who earned about $135,000 in take-home pay during 2013, ranking No. 1 among all Sandusky employees.

The raises also occur at a puzzling time, considering less than three months ago commissioners slashed $1.1 million from their $16.3 million 2014 everyday operating budget.

Many could question the raises when considering city officials:

•Projected a $1 million shortfall over the next two years. As city revenues remain flat at $16.3 million, expenses increase at about $16.7 million in 2015 and almost $17 million in 2016.

•Trimmed Sandusky’s full-time staffing levels from 291 in 2004 to about 212 as of this past December. Past and present commissioners said budget cuts forced them to reduce staffing levels.

•Approved plans to downsize the fire department, through attrition, to eventually 49 full-time position, decreasing from 53 earlier this year. Commissioners also approved closing the Venice Road fire station for several days a week, starting later this month.



They probably deserve a raise, less people doing more work.


It's not a question of who does or does not DESERVE a raise. It is, instead, a question of fiscal responsibility. Either the money's there, or it's not. If it's there, by all means give raises as warranted. But City leaders claim it's NOT there.

I do NOT want to hear one more word about how the City can't afford to fill up a pothole or cut down dangerously diseased or dying trees. I also don't want any more excuses as to why those things aren't being done. $25,000 could have put at least a LITTLE dent in BOTH those sorely needed projects. Since the City apparently has the extra money, I'll look forward to seeing some work done VERY soon!


I agree with the first responder as this has happened all over the country. People are doing more and deserve to be paid more. If we want to keep the same services we need to make sure the public is aware that it is their responsibility to pay for the hardworking Americans they are.

Dwight K.

If some of these city employees are getting raises then some of them should get attitude adjustments. Hopefully the African American woman at the water office didn't get a raise.


I see no problem with giving raises to those that deserve it. I would see a problem with spending that money on a consultant that would commission a study to see who deserves a raise, how much of a raise, and when they should get it.

In other words, as long as it is not wasted money, what is the problem. If you do not compensate people properly they will go elsewhere, then you are back to square one. How much of an investment do you think it takes to hire and train a new employee?


I have a HUGE problem with it. Exactly what does the city provide for Sandusky residents ,aside from the obvious safety forces? You don't pick up refuse, you don't pick up yard waste, you don't fix the falling apart infrastructure, we pay for water and sewer. Mow the parks down put in native plants that will thrive on their own,there thousands saved. Do NOT ask for an increase in taxes. I have had no pay raise this year, few have.


Is it just me or did Iscman get to keep the pay raise he got when he was interim city manager. It sure looks like it.

Julie R.

He did.


He's grossly overpaid as law director or as interim city manager, especially since he has to send out much of the work because he can't handle it.

In any event a common pleas court judge makes $121,350. City law directors in many big Cuyahoga County suburbs also make less, but then some of them receive kickbacks.

In fact only four large suburbs employ full time law directors. One, Lakewood which is much larger than Sandusky pays $87,000 per year for a full time law director. Parma, about three times the size of Sandusky pays just over $100,000 and he's elected. Most are part time positions and the department budgets are well below that of Sandusky.

One person who really cleaned up was Margaret Cannon who was hired by several suburbs on a part time basis and placed the big firm she works for on retainer. Cannon was brought in by Icsman in the Nuesse case and her payments ought to be public record as the chart in the following article demonstrates.



Budget shortfall should equate to more cutbacks, drop the expenditures to 14 million. 130k in unionized raises , really put that up on the ballet to negotiate public unionization. I never understood unions in government. How much does the city contribute to health care for its FT employees higher contribution by employees needs to happen, just like the private sector. Private companies versus unions are needed but who are the city unionized workers negotiating with, oh yeah neighbors and other city tax payers which are represented by the city commission/ manager.


Unions in government are very important for everyone including non union employees. Everyone always wants to bash unions well guess what if there were no unions then non union employees wouldn't get paid as much as they get paid and same goes for their benefits! Unions help everyone including non union employees, get rid of unions and then see what you get paid!!


Let me clarify I am in no means against unions, but pay increases in the city is what the article focusses on. I was merely trying to stress unions are not negotiating against the city, they are in essence negotiating against tax payers. 130000 in raises when the city has a debt load and forecasting a deficiency is simply hard to swallow. Private entities would have froze wages, reduced more salaries, and increased employees responsibility for benefits. Please don't complain when income tax percent goes up or more debt is accumulated.


Neither side is negotiating "against" the other side, especially in today's world. If you paid attention to most of the public union negotiations in the past ten years or so you would see a lot of wage freezes and the workers giving up other things. Both sides have been negotiating with each other - not against.

Perkins Resident

In the real world, non government jobs, when times are tough and money is tight, no one gets raises. But hey, it's the government and they will just raise taxes to pay for it. The never ending money tree supplied by the sheeple.

AJ Oliver

I really don't want to spend any more money on my daily newspaper(s) and insist that the Register hold the line on pay raises. The next time Andy Oriel is up for a raise I expect front page coverage and lots of skepticism. Hey, just tighten your belt Andy !!

Julie R.

If Andy Oriel were to get a raise at least it wouldn't be at the expense of the already taxed-to-death taxpayers.


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