CINCINNATI - Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr., is getting a $20,000 raise.
Members of City Council voted 6-2 Thursday to increase the manager's annual salary from $235,000 to $255,000.
Voting yes were Roxanne Qualls, Cecil Thomas, Wendell Young, Laure Quinlivan, Yvette Simpson and Charlie Winburn. No votes came from Christopher Smitherman and Chris Seelbach. P.G. Sittenfeld had an excused absence from the meeting.
It's the first raise for Dohoney in five years and comes at a time when the city is facing a possible 2013 deficit of up to $40 million.
However, Mayor Mark Mallory was extremely emotional in defending the expenditure. He was the one who chose Dohoney and set high expectations that the manager has exceeded.
The mayor noted that councilmembers seem to be in 100 percent agreement that Dohoney is doing an excellent job.
"The city is on fire," he said. "We're seen now as a city of best practices and much of that comes from the work of our city manager."
"We ask ourselves, should we give him a pay increase?" Mallory continued. "The answer is absolutely yes because to do anything other than that is a backhanded slap in the face and it's an actual statement that we want the manager gone."
Mallory said he wishes he could give Dohoney a bigger raise.
"I make no apologizes for paying this man what he's worth," he added. "Well, I do have to apologize because we're not paying him what he's worth just yet. Maybe we'll get to that some day
FOP President Kathy Harrell said the vote won't sit well with her member, who haven't had a pay increase in two years.
Christopher Smitherman defended his vote by saying the raise sends the wrong message with the looming deficit.
"Shared sacrifice is needed," he said.
While Chris Seelbach admitted things are very positive in the city, he said he believes raises need to go to middle class families that make $30,000 a year.
However, Wendell Young said the city would do that if it could, but it can't because the money's not there.
"We do have the money for this raise," he added.
Yvette Simpson told her colleagues Dohoney as a CEO, COO and CAO has saved jobs and kept the unemployment rate low.
"When you get a blessing, you say, 'Thank you,'" she said.
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