Ward 6 City Council Member Kathy Warmath broached the subject of compensating Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, City Council and Board of Zoning Appeals members for work sessions and special-called meetings during Tuesday night's Lebanon City Council meeting.
Warmath explained that many members leave their current jobs or businesses early to participate in the special meetings and should receive "some kind of stipend for doing so."
"Nobody has to take it. I just think it's the right thing to do, given that everybody is working so hard," she said. "I just feel like we need to recognize them in some small way."
Voting was deferred; however, a few councilors shared their opinions on the suggested stipends.
Ward 3 Council Member Rob Cesternino, who served on BOZA before being elected to Council, said he would not support something to "compensate community service."
"If you give of your time, you give of your time," he said. "What happens if you get your $50 and after 10 minutes, you walk out? It becomes a nightmare. It becomes subjective. That's just my personal opinion."
The $50 mentioned by Cesternino was one of the estimated compensations Warmath mentioned - a set pay was not written into the ordinance.
"Are these for meetings for people who don't show up?" asked Ward 5 Council Member Tick Bryan. "We have people who are supposed to be at work sessions and don't show up. I don't think people should be paid for anything really. As an elected official, I didn't realize we got paid anything when I started. We get insurance and a salary. I don't think anything about that we should be getting."
Warmath said that those attending meetings would have to sign in or be counted in some way, and reiterated that they could chose to reject compensation if they wished.
City Attorney Andy Wright said according to law, Historic Preservation members could not be compensated, but that Planning Commission and BOZA could be compensated at a rate determined by the council.
As far as Councilors are concerned, he said they are entitled to receive travel and expense reimbursement; however, a policy would have to be filed with the comptroller's office before it could go into effect.
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