In Warren, proposed legislation with vague amounts of pay raises for elected officials has some people asking questions. 
On Wednesday, city council members had a first reading to give themselves, the Mayor, and other elected officials raises.
A resident asked all Warren council members to vote against that legislation which would give the Mayor, Safety Service Director, Auditor, Deputy Auditor, Law Director, Deputy Law director, and council members a pay raise.
The legislation would give Mayor Doug Franklin the highest salary in the city.
In 2022 Mayor Doug Franklin made more than $87,000 a year, yet a resident points out the average salary in Warren is $29,000 a year.
"We the people need to know how much the raises will cost the taxpayers of Warren Ohio. Does anyone on the city council know or are you going to vote for a blank check?" Debra Magos asked. 
"Is there a surplus of money? If so why not spend the surplus for the betterment of the city on projects that will benefit the citizens of Warren instead of only benefiting a few?" Magos asked. 
Councilman Greg Greathouse who sponsored the legislation says the raises are justified. 
"It's been 15 years since any elected official in the city has had an adjustment. In that same period of time, the cost of living has gone up 52 percent. Social Security COLA has seen 34% increases, and the police officers union in the city has seen a 22% increase in those years, and I think it's time to do the same thing with elected officials" Greathouse said.
"The raise would take the mayor to one percent over the highest union official. It's completely dependent on what the union makes. It would institute a mechanism to adjust in some fashion for the cost of living," Greathouse added.
He tells 21 News in the 15 years council's salary has been set at $11,109.93 a year, yet the cost of living has gone up 52 cents. What a dollar would buy in 2009 only buys you 48 cents today, so we've had a salary decrease in the last 15 years of 52 percent.
"The increase would just be based on base wages not on overtime. The Mayor and elected officials and council are not eligible for overtime," Greathouse emphasized.
The legislation states, "At no time as of January 1, 2024, and thereafter shall the Mayor of the City of Warren, Ohio's annual wages be less than one percent higher than the city's highest wage earners base wages."
This means the mayor's annual wages in 2024 would be raised to exactly one percent above the highest city wage-earner's base salary.  
"The Director of Public Service and Safety annual wages would be increased to 98% percent of the mayor's annual salary." 
The Auditor's and Law Director's annual wages would be increased to 99% of the mayor's annual wages.
The Deputy Auditor's annual wages would be increased to 99% of the Auditor's annual salary
The Deputy Law Director's annual wages would be increased to 95% of the Law Directors' annual salary.  
Effective January 1, 2024, Warren Council member's annual wages would be increased to not less than 20% of the mayor's annual salary. 
21 News requested the current salaries and the total amount of pay raises for each individual proposed by Warren's Auditor because the formula is not transparent, leaving the pay hikes for each person a mystery.
Councilman Ken MacPhearson believes the raises for most are not deserved except for the city council which makes around $11,109.93 a year. He says actual dollar amounts should be listed for everyone. 
"I think the elected officials particularly with no qualifications at all shouldn't be comparing themselves to employees who have distinguished qualifications of education and acumen. To say the base salary of the highest-paid employee in the city, look at water pollution control and the water department, those are very difficult to be certified in those things. The law director has a law degree as a requirement. The Mayor only has to show up for work a few times a year and no qualifications whatsoever. The same for the Safety Service Director," Councilman MacPherson said.
"I think the wages of elected officials should be tied to the performance of how they run the city and what people make in the city and our average wage has dropped tremendously over the last 20 years and I think the payment of administrative officials should be commensurate with that not with people who have qualifications and capabilities," Councilman Ken MacPherson added.
"I think the council needs a little more at around $11,000 a year. ... I think bundling it all kind of together is kind of icky. They have five or six pieces we are consolidating in. I have asked council clerks to e-mail copies of those previous legislations so we can all review what this means," MacPherson said.
"I think all in all giving yourself a raise after we give it to the city is not a bad thing just come out and say it and do it. Hey, we're going from $11,000 to $14,000. They got five percent we're going to give ourselves five percent instead of kind of sneaking around and coming up with this vague kind of percentage of the highest employee thing. Nobody can make sense of that," MacPhearson emphasized. 
The Auditor and Councilman Gratehouse tell 21 News they will have the information for residents and the news. 
Warren Council will have two more readings on this issue before a vote. 
If the raises pass there could be a referendum to try and appeal it.