PORTAGE — City Council members will only get a pay raise over outgoing Mayor John Cannon's angry veto.
Cannon issued a press release Friday criticizing city council members, including Mayor-elect Sue Lynch, for being fiscally irresponsible.
"I believe this salary ordinance does the residents of Portage wrong," he said of a Nov. 12 council vote to increase their own salaries next year from $17,017 to $17,142 — an annual hike of $125 or three quarters of a percent.
" If anything, these salaries should reflect the city’s true financial standing," Cannon said.
Lynch said Friday afternoon she hadn’t yet seen Cannon’s veto statement and would reserve comment until she could.
The dispute comes 10 days after Lynch defeated Cannon for mayor.
The two have been rivals since former Mayor James E. Snyder was removed from office following a federal jury’s verdict he was guilty of tax evasion and soliciting a bribe from a garbage truck vendor for the city.
State law required Lynch, who was city council president, to serve as interim mayor for two weeks in February until a caucus of Portage’s Republican precinct committee members named Cannon to finish out the remainder of Snyder’s term.
Cannon and Lynch went head to head in the Nov. 5 general election and Lynch won 3,684 to 3,324.
Cannon said his veto wasn’t an act of sour grapes over his defeat.
"You can’t say you must run the city under budget constraints and then vote yourself a raise. (Lynch) actually voted for her own pay raise. I vetoed this so they could bring it back up to either override my veto or live with it," Cannon said.
The council would have to muster more than a simple majority to pass the ordinance over Cannon’s veto.