News release from the Hughes for Mayor campaign:
Fort Wayne’s Mayor shouldn’t be paid more than Indiana’s Governor
Hughes Continues Budget Discussion by Proposing Cut in Mayor’s Pay
(February 9, 2011) -Former Allen County Council President and leading Republican candidate for Mayor of Fort Wayne Paula Hughes continued to roll out her plans for city budgeting by proposing a reduction in the Mayor’s office budget. Specifically, Hughes is targeting the 31% salary gap between the Fort Wayne Mayor and Indiana’s governor. Currently, Mayor Tom Henry receives a salary of $124,665 and Governor Mitch Daniels earns a salary of $95,000.
“I don’t think the Mayor of Fort Wayne should be getting paid more than the Governor of Indiana,” Paula Hughes said. “My first act in office will be to reduce the mayor’s pay below the governor’s salary.”
Additionally, Hughes is proposing a reduction in the deputy mayor’s salary to less than the salary of Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor. Fort Wayne’s Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy was hired at a salary of $120,000 and was a $5,000 increase from previous Deputy Mayor Greg Purcell. Conversely, Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman earns $76,000 by law.
“Why is Fort Wayne spending over $70,000 a year more on its top two officials than state government allocates to its top two executives?” Hughes inquired. “Part of getting your fiscal house in order is seeing which payments are out of whack. This is the first step to getting back on track.”
This payroll reduction is an extension of Hughes’s cash-based budgeting plan, “Making YOUR Money Count” which will require all division directors and department heads to submit a prioritized budget that focuses on necessities. Each department will start at zero and build their budget from the ground up. This type of budgeting will empower each department to focus on doing more with less and to critically evaluate the need for each individual program and line-item.
This plan stems from the disturbing facts presented by City officials in its own 2009 Certified Annual Financial Report. Page 49 of that report clearly stated that Fort Wayne’s long-term debt is $405 million. Additionally, page 39 pointed out that the city’s debt increased by $78.4 million over the course of 2009. The Hughes budget plan would not allow for a debt increase. It will focus on making the current tax dollars count and getting to a point to start paying down the massive debt accumulated by the past administrations.
“We need get our budget in check and become fiscally responsible to the taxpayers again,” Hughes stated. “This excessive debt load will burden our community for decades to come if we don’t address it now.”
The Hughes plan is modeled after Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Ramsey is a nationally-renowned financial advisor with a daily radio show broadcast nationwide and previously hosted a show on the Fox Business Network. The radio show airs locally on 100.1 FM from 3-6pm.