EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio—Just days after Christmas, the Mayor of East Cleveland found out he would be taking a huge pay cut.
Tuesday night, four attending council members voted unanimously to remove Mayor Gary Norton from his position as the city's public safety director, knocking his salary from $77,000 to $40,000.
"Nothing about East Cleveland is improved as a result of the decision that they made," said Mayor Norton. "In 2012, $40,000 a year is not fair compensation for the chief executive officer of the city, who is the mayor.
The only people who can rectify that problem are the voters."Council members say because of lost revenue the city has little choice when it comes to the budget. Mayor Norton says that is not true. "Not only did we cut the budget by 15 percent, we preserved the number of police and fire that we had."City council said they also voted to cut 10 percent of the budget from most city departments. It is now up to the mayor to decide if those cuts will be made to personnel.Norton says during his time in office he has brought in $16 million, in grant-funded projects. "We brought in grants more than we make a year, the reward for that, the leader of the executive team is to cut the mayor's salary in half. It doesn't make any sense."According to the council clerk, council voted to fund the safety director position in 2009.
The clerk says after Norton took office in 2010 he appointed himself to the position--a job that was not funded from 2005-2010.One East Cleveland woman said she understood the council's position. "We didn't pay a mayor before to do it then, why should we pay a mayor now to do it?""If they didn't do it the last five years, we're in worse condition now, doesn't sound good if he's doing it now," said another East Cleveland resident.
Fox 8 News tried contacting the city council president seeking comment, but she did not return our phone calls.