Hope approves raises for officials

HOPE — Hope Town Council members have approved a 6 percent salary hike for Hope town manager J.T. Doane.

Other full-time town administrators, as well as one part-timer, received 2 percent raises.

Doane will be earning $53,000 this year, according to the salary ordinance approved Jan. 5. That’s $3,000 more than the 2016 pay rate approved last summer when Doane began his job.

After Hope lost its first town manager, Melina Fox, over a salary dispute in early 2016, a number of council members have expressed caution about not repeating past mistakes or miscommunications.

When Fox was hired in 2014, the council set an annual salary of $50,000, but she agreed to take $5,000 less in order to fund the creation of a new website, former councilman Greg Sims said.

Since the website was completed in March 2015, Fox requested a 2016 salary of $50,000 plus a 2 percent increase in November 2015.

However, the part-time council did not take action on her request, which prompted Fox to resign.

The 2 percent raises approved this month are as follows:

Town Marshal Matt Tallent: $55,474.65 (2016) to $56,584.14 (2017)

Utilities Superintendent David Clouse: $55,474.65 (2016) to $56,584.14 (2017)

Building and Zoning Administrator Tim Shoaf: $5,836.64 (2016) to $5,953.37 (2017)

On Nov. 15, the council unanimously approved an almost 17 percent pay hike for the town clerk-treasurer. Diane Burton will receive $33,500 in salary this year, up from $28,653 in 2016.

The raise came after the council discovered the average clerk-treasurer’s salary in five other comparable Hoosier communities was $40,799.

Since Burton is an elected officeholder, rather than an appointed town employee, her salary increase was handled by the council at a separate time.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.