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Columbus City Council Reinstates Parks Director’s Salary

The Columbus City Council shifted the parks director's salary after the mayor demoted the then-parks director to marketing coordinator.

columbus parks

Photo: Gretchen Frazee

In January, the city council doubled Ben Wagner’s salary as marketing coordinator from about $40,000 to nearly $80,000—the same amount he was making as parks director.

Update 10:30 a.m.

The Columbus City Council unanimously voted to reinstate the parks and recreation director’s salary at its meeting Tuesday night.

The parks director position, which is now vacant, will have a salary of $79,471.

The city council also returned the marketing coordinator’s salary to about $40,000.

Original Story:

The Columbus City Council could reinstate the parks and recreation director’s salary at its meeting tonight.

The parks director’s salary of $79,471 was shifted to the marketing coordinator after Mayor Kristen Brown demoted then-parks director Ben Wagner to that position last December.

When the city council made the decision to shift the salary, it was in the middle of a dispute with the mayor over whether she had the authority to demote Wagner in the first place.

Since then, Wagner has resigned along with three of the parks board members.

City council pro temp Dascal Bunch says even though the parks board and city council are moving on, he isn’t satisfied.

“We still don’t know the answer to the question we originally asked, can the mayor do what she did? Did she step across the line? We feel that she did. We have to put that behind us and move on,” Bunch says.

If the council votes to reinstate the salary, the process of hiring a new parks director can move forward. The mayor will then appoint a candidate whose name will then be sent to the parks board for final approval.

The mayor recently appointed three new parks board members – Jennifer Carroll, Amy Kleinert and Angela Macy.

They will meet for the first time June 12.

Casey Kuhn

Casey Kuhn is a reporter working for WFIU/WTIU news. Originally from Cincinnati, she recently graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in journalism. Her main interests are dogs, baseball, and food. Follow her online at @CaseyAtTheDesk.

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