After feedback from the public on the proposed pay to make Mayor Chris Martin’s campaign manager Dahrol Perry the city’s first director of communications, Martin reduced the amount from $45,000 to $35,000 a year.
Martin announced the change at Wednesday morning’s Board of Works meeting, and the City Council Finance Committee approved the contract Wednesday evening after going through the contract line by line.
Martin said after the meeting that his administration re-evaluated the contract based on public input since the agenda and a copy of the proposed contract were released on Tuesday.
The average salary in Logansport is $37,000, Martin said his research showed.
Under the revised contract, Perry would still act as an independent contractor with no city benefits and no taxes taken out.
Besides taking photos, Perry’s responsibilities would include marketing and maintaining an online presence, Martin said. The payment would come out of two sources.
From the County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds, $25,000 will go to pay Perry, and the remaining $10,000 will come from the Board of Works’ contractual services fund.
The $25,000 from CEDIT was the amount paid to Rich Voorhees as the city’s official photographer for the last two years the city used him under former Mayor Dave Kitchell’s administration.
For the first year of the three Voorhees worked, his annual salary was $30,000, Deputy Mayor Stacy Cox said.
Martin said the city will look at Perry’s pay rate again during the July-August budgeting for 2021.
Cox said during the Board of Works meeting: “I’ve said for three years we’ve needed someone in marketing and public relations.”
During Logansport Re-Imagined meetings, three of four proposals from the group she was on were things the city was already planning to address.
“The public is just not aware of what government is working on,” she said.
She added that the city can revisit his pay for next year after people see the worth of the position.
Martin said someone was necessary to take care of the ever-changing social media platform. “If we don’t start adapting to these changes now, we’re only going to keep falling behind,” he said.
Perry will work in the City Building daily and have an office, and his duties will include putting press releases out for other departments — with their chiefs’ or heads’ approvals — so that people like the police chief and fire chief can concentrate on their primary jobs.
Perry said his experience includes being a professional photographer for eight to nine years, and he was the communications director for Martin’s campaign, as well as his campaign manager. Him being the communications director would be an easier transition, he said.
City Council President Dave Morris said after the Board of Works meeting that the council isn’t against Perry’s appointment, but wanted to be aware of the details.
Before looking over the contract, Morris took a vote of the Finance Committee members, and all were in favor of the contract with Perry.
After the contract’s approval, Morris said he was aware of recent feedback on social media.
“I’ve been on the council for four years, and I’ve not gotten this much feedback, not even for trash [fee increases],” he said.
He read from an email from someone he said he respected who asked whether the appointment was good for Logansport or for Martin. The person wrote that Perry made everything about Martin at a robotics event and, based on the photos, “even the ribbon cutting at Emmaus weren’t about Emmaus but about Chris,” Morris said the post stated.
“I want you to be aware of the perception that people have,” Morris said.
Martin said that there would be talks about that and the fact that Perry only had access to the mayor’s account, not the city’s, until recently.