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Salary ordinance disappoints East Chicago clerk

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Salary ordinance disappoints East Chicago clerk

Newly elected East Chicago Clerk Rich Medina was sworn into office last February by Lake County Circuit Court Judge Marissa McDermott.

EAST CHICAGO — A 2022 salary ordinance approved by the City Council has left City Clerk Rich Medina disappointed with its action.

Medina currently receives an annual salary of $57,462 and had requested $75,000.

Instead, the City Council approved a $5,000 raise for Medina in 2022.

Medina had previously told the council that the East Chicago clerk's office had not received a salary increase in 17 years and that he based his request on Social Security Administration cost of living increases provided to recipients since 2004.

Medina addressed the council after it voted 8-0 on Dec. 22 to give final approval to the salary ordinance.

"You all have totally disrespected the office of the city clerk," Medina said. "Not only insulted me personally, but you disrespected the office of the city clerk of East Chicago."

Medina became clerk in February after being chosen in a caucus to replace former clerk and current North Township Trustee Adrian Santos.

The salary ordinance does give City Court Judge Sonya Morris the $75,000 annually she had requested.

Her current annual salary is approximately $61,000.

The salary ordinance had initially been worded to give both Medina and Morris the $75,000 figure, but numbers were changed after the ordinance was tabled.

The ordinance was adjusted to give Medina a $5,000 raise and Morris a $10,000 increase, but Councilwoman Gilda Orange, D-6th, made a motion to give Morris the whole $75,000, and that motion was approved by a vote of 5-3.

Morris has served as city court judge for 18 years.

"I definitely think she deserves a raise," Councilwoman Monica Gonzalez, D-1st, said. "I'm just not sure that we need to do this all at one time."

The council voted 8-0 to approve the salary ordinance on final reading.

Councilman Lenny Franciski, D-2nd, was not present at the Dec. 22 meeting.

In other city news, Councilwoman Stacy Winfield, D-4th, has announced the winners in her district's second annual Christmas Outdoor Decorating Contest.

The first place winner of a $700 prize donated by Winfield, Councilman Kenneth Monroe, D-at large, and North Township board member Richard Novak was the Cruz family at 4305 Stewart Court.

Second place went to the Robinson family at 4314 Stewart Court. A $250 prize was donated by Councilman Dwayne Rancifer, D-at large.

The Graham family at 4010 Alder St. won third place and a $150 prize contributed by Councilwoman Debra Bolaños, D-at large.

The contest was started last year as a way to lift spirits in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It brings the morale up in the community," Winfield said.


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