Joe Motil

In the Thursday, April 28 Columbus Dispatch, an article reported that Mayor Ginther’s office had lobbied the Citizens Commission on Elected Officials Compensation to boost the pay of whomever would become mayor in 2026 by 14% in addition to cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime community advocate who has begun circulating petitions to run for Mayor in 2023  states that, “Mayor Ginther apparently believes that record-breaking monetary compensation justifies the central purpose of serving as a public servant. And the fact that Ginther’s office would use pressure to influence the commission’s recommendations is an unethical abuse of power. Instead of Ginther and his office spending valuable time lobbying his hand-picked members of the compensation commission for a possible raise, they should be lobbying officials of Intel and the Columbus Partnership to invest in our affordable housing crisis.”

The Dispatch story goes on to say, “the report to the commission noted that the mayor was the only Columbus official 'prohibited from holding outside employment, effectively limiting the ability to earn additional income.'” Motil says, “Mr. Ginther is currently taking down $204,683 a year on top of health benefits and a retirement plan. Just how much does the Mayor need to pull in in order for he and his family to live comfortably? Over 54,000 people are spending 50 percent or more of their incomes for housing and he feels the need to supplement his $204,683 annual salary?” The story also notes that Governor Mike DeWine who oversees 11.5 million people (and a budget of $80 billion in 2022) is paid considerably less at $165,230.

Motil further comments that, “when the mayor and city council are given the authority to handpick a so called 'Citizens Commission' to recommend their salaries, the public shouldn’t expect anything less than an outrageous outcome. Out of the five-member Commission, the chair is a former city administrator, another commissioner a former Columbus City Council member, one worked for former Mayor Michael Coleman, and another is employed by Ohio Health where Mayor Ginther’s wife also works. Does anyone notice even a hint of a conflict of interest in the makeup of this so called 'citizens commission?'"   

Motil concludes that the Dispatch story also noted that, “The report pointed out that the Columbus mayor oversees a $2 billion budget and almost 8,000 employees, and is 'similar to a chief executive officer in the private sector, (being) ultimately responsible for the entirety of the enterprise.' If this were the case, the mayor’s board of directors would have slashed his current salary and had him removed from office by now.”