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Letter: Pay raise in City Council salary legal?


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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Thomas Heller

Columbus

In adopting what, in essence, is private legislation as a counterpunch to a recent highly publicized personnel action by the mayor, our esteemed city councilors have placed in jeopardy the 2 percent pay raise they granted to city employees last September.

Private legislation, laws that benefit only one individual or business, is not permitted to state legislative bodies and, by extension, is also denied to legislative bodies created pursuant to the Indiana Constitution. It’s Article 4 (“Legislative”) and contains a Section 22 and a much shorter Section 23. This would include the Columbus City Council.

Thus, the knee-jerk action taken unanimously Tuesday night by the City Council is subject to legal challenge, and if ruled to be an illegal legislative action, the salary ordinance adopted last September by these same folk, containing the 2 percent pay raises for city employees, would be invalidated in its entirety.

This is the consequence of legislative meddling into executive powers. The council does not seem to understand the boundaries of its powers and has demonstrated a remarkable disdain for the construct of local government. None of them ran for mayor.

The City Council has stated it will be engaging legal counsel to investigate the mayor’s actions and the allegations leveled against the demoted parks director. Maybe it will be able to pay for that attorney with the payroll savings invalidation of the city’s 2014 salary ordinance will generate. I’m sure that would make all the other city employees happy.

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