Mayfield bypasses council, hands out raises
Marion mayor David Mayfield awarded raises to four city employees despite an employee handbook that states that pay increases are subject to city council approval and state law stating that salaries for appointed officers must be set by the council by ordinance.
Documents obtained by the Record under the state open records act indicate Mayfield gave raises Jan. 9 to treasurer and assistant city clerk Becky Makovec, court clerk Sandy Scheele, interim police chief Duane McCarty, and police officer Zach Hudlin.
Council member Ruth Herbel challenged Mayfield’s authority to single-handedly approve raises at a meeting Monday.
“I am kind of wondering why the city council wasn’t involved in those decisions,” she said.
“When we’re assigning additional duties to employees, we always give raises,” Mayfield said, apparently alluding to Makovec taking over some of former city clerk Tiffany Jeffrey’s duties after she resigned last year and McCarty stepping up as interim police chief.
“Will raises expire when interim duties end?” Herbel asked Mayfield.
Mayfield appeared to reference Makovec specifically and said, “she still has additional duties,” despite the hiring of Janet Robinson as new city clerk.
The city council voted in March 2022 to award employees 5% raises. Documents obtained by the Record indicate most took effective Feb. 20, 2022, two weeks before the council approved them.
Records obtained by the Record show that Makovec made $21.95 an hour until Mayfield raised her hourly wage Jan. 9 to $24.45.
Makovec’s position is appointed, council member Ruth Herbel said Tuesday. Salaries of appointed officers are supposed to be set by ordinance, the employee handbook says. A special provision in city code specifically states that the assistant city clerk salary must be set by ordinance.
Scheele made $15.50 an hour as of May 1. Mayfield increased her salary Jan. 9 to $18.
McCarty and Hudlin both received $1 an hour raises effective Jan. 9. McCarty makes $19.74 an hour. Hudlin makes $18.96 an hour.
Herbel also questioned Mayfield about new city clerk Janet Robinson’s salary, which is $18 an hour, $6.45 less than the salary of Makovec, her assistant.
“Who set the city clerk’s salary?” Herbel asked Monday.
“We talked about that,” Mayfield answered.
Herbel said Robinson’s salary was never mentioned in an open meeting. The city clerk job also is an appointed position.
Mary Olson, who served as mayor from 2007 to 2014, said Tuesday that she never approved raises on her own.
“He’s not got that authority unless they gave it to them,” Olson said.
City council member Jerry Kline also said Tuesday that he didn’t think Mayfield had the authority to award raises and was surprised he had.
Asked whether he was concerned, Kline said: “Always when there’s money involved, I’m concerned.”
In Hillsboro, raises are handled differently, going through city administrator Matt Stiles’s office.
The city council approves an annual budget for salaries, and if there are adjustments such as a cost-of-living raise or performance raise, the council gives Stiles authority to “administer the pay plan within guidelines they have for the budget.”
“Generally, the department heads and supervisors have some discretion as to what do within their budget, but all changes come through the city administrator,” he said. “We do annual performance reviews, but pay changes can be initiated by other things like a position changes, change in duties, receiving certifications, or other achievements.
“The mayor and council do not generally weigh in on wages other than for the city administrator and during budget times.”
Hillsboro’s mayor does not have authority to give out raises, Stiles said.
Herbel said Mayfield shouldn’t either.
“The council should have approved those raises,” she said. “He went on the defensive and attacked me, and I’m not OK with that. I was there to get some answers.”
Mayfield asked Herbel why she contacted the wife of a city employee about pay in his department.
“Why would an employee’s wife know?” Mayfield asked Herbel. “It almost seems like to me like you’re trying to stir up something.”
“I’m not trying to stir up anything, Dave,” Herbel answered.
On Tuesday, Herbel said she still didn’t understand why Mayfield gave out raises.
“There’s nothing fair about the way we do salaries,” she said.
Last modified March 9, 2023