HAMMOND | The Hammond City Council gave itself a pay raise for the first time in three years, but it took multiple attempts to garner enough votes.
The council voted Monday to increase its salary, as well as the salary of the mayor, judge and clerk, by 5 percent for 2012.
The final vote was 5-4, with council members Mark Kalwinski, Al Salinas, Kimberly Poland, Homero "Chico" Hinojosa and Anthony Higgs supporting the raise. Council members Michael Opinker, Dan Spitale, Janet Venecz and Bob Markovich voted against it.
The raise brings the mayor's salary to $102,743; the judge's salary to $78,862; the clerk's salary to $78,727; and the council member salary to $24,648.
The ordinance originally called for a 6 percent increase for council members, which would have brought their annual salary to $24,883.
When the salary ordinance was brought up at Monday's meeting, Markovich suggested giving across-the-board raises of $1,500, instead of 6 percent. That motion failed, because only Salinas and Hinojosa joined Markovich in supporting the measure.
A vote to amend the ordinance from a 6 percent raise to a 5 percent raise also initially failed, after it received support from only Spitale, Venecz, Poland and Hinojosa.
A third vote — to accept the ordinance as presented with the 6 percent increase — failed after Higgs was the lone councilman to support it.
After the council rejected three versions of a salary increase, the council took up other business on the agenda.
Near the end of the meeting, Kalwinski asked the council to reconsider the ordinance and amend it to give 5 percent raises to the mayor, judge, clerk and council members.
Markovich again asked instead for a $1,500 across-the-board raise, but it wasn't even considered because no one seconded his motion.
The council voted again on whether to amend the ordinance to give a 5 percent raise. That time, it was approved 5-4.
City Controller Bobby Lendi said elected officials have forgone a raise the last three years.