City Council gives initial approval for new salary ordinance

Columbus police, firefighters and residents turn out to hear results of salary study; WRB staff photo

A number of Columbus city employees are set to see pay increases after the results of a salary study were made public during Tuesday evening’s city council meeting. The study, nearly two-years in the making, looked at every full-time position within city government and compared them against eight “peer” cities in Indiana. The goal, say city officials, was to determine if Columbus is competitive when it comes to salary and benefits packages.

Police Chief Jon Rohde says that attracting and retaining quality officers has gotten increasingly difficult over the years. He told the council that recruitment “is at a crisis level,” referencing the city’s ability to compensate versus others of similar size.


Mayor Jim Lienhoop says this study, and how the city reacts to it, is critical for Columbus.


Councilman Frank Miller has been a proponent of getting a salary study done for years.


Miller says this study and action being taken by the council addresses his concerns.

The ordinance calls for public safety workers to see merit-based pay increases taking them to the “mid-range” of a new salary range within two years. Other non-elected city employees would be phased in over three years. The action would also give 11 city employees raises to the new minimum range upon final approval. Jamie Brinegar, the city’s director of finance, says the immediate pay bump for these 11 would amount for just under $10,000, however no additional appropriations are expected.

The council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance. A second reading is set for June 5th.