STEUBENVILLE - Three City Council members voted against an appropriations ordinance Tuesday night, citing concerns with language providing City Manager Cathy Davison with a July holiday pay similar to union, nonunion and management employees.
The public debate comes less than two months before council is set to decide if Davison will remain as city manager.
Sixth Ward Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman David Lalich first asked for the language to be taken out of the appropriations legislation that had been tabled two weeks ago.
"This language gives the city manager one week of holiday pay in July. But her contract calls for her holiday pay to be in December," stated Lalich.
But 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf cited a memo from City Law Director S. Gary Repella, who indicated Davison is part of the city management and entitled to the July holiday pay just like all nonunion and management employees were when the council restored the holiday pay for the Fraternal Order of Police in June.
"Cathy is a manager and is management. Maybe we erred originally when we gave her only half of the management team's holiday pay language," said Metcalf.
"This should not be debated on the council floor. Council should have known what was going on prior to this meeting. I don't want to defeat this ordinance because of the other funds listed in the legislation. In essence we are giving her a raise. This should have been discussed prior to tonight," said Lalich.
""When we OK'd the restoration of the three furlough days and July holiday pay to the police and nonunion employees, I was under the understanding she was part of the management team who also received those benefits," Councilman at large Kenny Davis said.
Council also heard from former city finance department employee Lori Mason, who said Davison already received the July holiday pay before the appropriations ordinance was approved.
"It is illegal and the auditors will be all over it. The city manager is not management. She is paid by a contract. If you pass this ordinance, it's illegal. Everyone who says aye will be held accountable," Mason argued.
Lalich along with 1st Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto and 2nd Ward Councilman voted against the emergency ordinance.
The measure passed by a 4-3 vote.
Davison is now in the third year of her three-year contract.
City Council gave Davison a generally favorable job review on March 20.
"The council members all discussed their thoughts on her job performance. We did not agree to a pay raise for her this year based on the current bad economic times," Lalich announced following the closed-door session in March.
"We explained to her we have until Sept. 15 to renew or not renew a new contract with her. That is when we will have to start contract negotiations with her," Lalich said following the March 20 meeting.