Mayors in East Chicago and Portage have recently vetoed measures that included pay raises for City Council members.

In East Chicago, the council overrode the veto. In Portage, the veto was just completed Monday, but already the council is making noises about overriding the veto.

East Chicago

Mayor Anthony Copeland vetoed the civil city and sanitary district budgets approved by the City Council on Oct. 30.

Among the council's actions was to add $27,000 for education and travel expenses for council members and to boost police and fire salaries by 2 percent.

Copeland said 3 percent raises for all city employees, including police and fire, were already included in the 2018 budget.

"We had a balanced budget, one that didn't need to be interfered with," Copeland said.

The council, which already is well compensated, overrode the mayor's vetoes of the budgets.

Part of the problem here is that the council acted so late in the budget process that there now is a question of whether the city will need to revert to its 2017 budget and eat into its reserves.

That's sloppy work by the council, regardless whether you think well-paid councilmen deserve another $3,000 per year for travel and training.


Mayor James Snyder vetoed an ordinance Monday that would have given City Council members an additional $5,000 per year for taking on duties formerly performed by the Utility Services Board.

Snyder, who is under federal indictment on public corruption charges, made the right call in vetoing the ordinance.

When the council members dismissed the independent board and took on that role themselves, they promised not to give themselves a pay raise for doing so.

Now their justification for padding their paychecks is that they've got more work to do. They also say the new ordinance nullifies the previous one, so that promise to not give themselves raises is no longer valid.

We don't see it that way. As Yukon poet Robert Service said, a promise made is a debt unpaid. The council must honor its initial commitment to the taxpayers not to raise its salaries.

The specifics of the two situations differ, but the principle is the same. The council members shouldn't have attempted to give themselves pay raises in either situation.

We side with the mayors on these vetoes.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.