City Councilwoman Hope Freshour acknowledged she wishes she could have done one thing differently during the Columbus City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
During the meeting, the City Council voted 7-1 in favor of a City pay plan for fiscal year 2023-2024 that gives all city employees a 3% cost-of-living raise (all City employees for years have received an annual cost-of-living raise). You can look at the plan, by reviewing the City Council meeting agenda. Scroll down to '2023-2024 Pay Plan' here.
“Where I failed is I did not state the reasoning behind the vote,” Freshour told the City’s public communications manager on Sept. 6th about her ‘nay’ vote. “And I should have.”
Freshour, who was appointed by Mayor Jim Bulkley in February 2023 to fill a fourth ward seat vacated by John Lohr, said she was at first in support of the plan when it was presented earlier this year at a Committee of the Whole meeting.
“First and foremost, I fully support our city employees and the role of the city administrator,” said Freshour, who serves as executive director of the Columbus Area United Way.
But after reviewing it some more and taking time to reflect, Freshour said she informed City leaders before the meeting that she would vote ‘nay’ on the matter due to some elements that she questioned.
“What I took issue with is a blanket raise of 3% across the board for someone making $20 an hour is a lot different than a higher-level paid position,” Freshour said, adding that she also supports the Columbus city administrator position getting an annual salary in the $200,000+ pay range based on wage studies and sister cities.
Freshour said it was important to note the reasoning behind her vote, reiterating she appreciates and supports all City staff, the mayor and fellow city council members. Anyone suggesting otherwise would be false.
“Definitely the work City staff does is incredible, and they’re very deserving. We need to make sure our City employees are paid well and provided benefits,” Freshour said. “We definitely need to be competitive and continue to attract high-quality staff, but I just wanted to make sure we’re using taxpayers’ dollars in an equitable, balanced, and sustainable way.”
Copyright © 2023 City of Columbus.