Omaha Mayor, City Council Spar Over Pay Raises
Council Wants More Transparency From Mayor Suttle
Mayor Jim Suttle addresses criticism from City Council Members on two hot topics. Video by kmtv.comvideo
Omaha, NE - A war of words between Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and the city council is heating up.
At issue is the mayor's approval of pay raises for some of his top staffers. That's $25,000 for his finance director and chief of staff and nine grand for the public works director.
"Nobody discovered a secret. They just simply read the budget," said Suttle.
The city council believes the mayor should have been more open about the increases when they went into effect back in January, but the mayor believes he'd been forthcoming.
"We specifically included the salary increases in our 2013 budget," said Suttle.
The mayor also fired back at the council for criticizing him for not being able to negotiate contracts with firefighters. He called it a distraction; an opinion some council members see as unfortunate.
"There seems to be a rift building here and that does upset me," said Councilman Garry Gernandt.
"If this practice continues it makes you wonder if this is just an indication of a bigger problem," added Councilwoman Jean Stothert.
Stothert, who is also running for mayor, is even taking exception to the mayor singling her out during this firestorm.
"To point out just one of seven council members is an indication that the mayor is doing the politicizing here."
The council is slated to debate a resolution Tuesday objecting to the mayor's pay raises. They're calling on the mayor's office to publicly disclose them in the future.