Lisbon chief getting the pay raise he was promised

LISBON – Police Chief Mike Abraham will get a promised pay raise sooner rather than later, following action taken at this week’s Village Council meeting.

Council agreed at its March meeting to grant Abraham a 5 percent raise immediately, followed by a second 5 percent increase in January, which would take his salary to $49,163 – the same as former chief John “Buck” Higgins when he retired in late 2012.

Abraham was promoted to chief in November of that year, with his salary set at 90 percent of what Higgins was making. Although the resolution promoting Abraham said council would review his salary after one year, Abraham said they promised to bring him up to what Higgins was making at that time.

There were different recollections among council members about whether such a promise was made, and as a compromise council agreed to bring Abraham’s salary up to what Higgins was making, but in increments.

Following the March meeting, it was pointed out this was contrary to the village ordinance establishing pay rates for employees. The wage ordinance, last updated in January 2013, set the police chief’s salary at $49,163, which is what Higgins was earning.

Council went into executive session for about a half hour at this week’s meeting to discuss the issue. When council returned to regular session they voted without comment to raise Abraham’s salary to $49,163 to comply with the wage ordinance.

In other action, council voted to contract with the Columbiana County Clerk of Courts for computer services and support for considerably less than what the village is currently paying with another contractor.

The current contract with Infinite Synergy expires in June, and the company is paid $19,836 per year. The clerk’s office will be paid $6,000 the first year and $5,000 annually after that for IT support and maintenance. The village is already hooked into the clerk’s high-speed Internet connection.

Council also renewed the contract of village Solicitor Virginia Barborak for another year, starting May 1. The vote was unanimous and without comment. Barborak will continue to be paid $9,350, plus $75 per hour for any work that exceeds four hours per month, excluding attending council meetings.

Council also agreed to reappoint Neal Brown to the fire department and authorized the purchase of five new sets of firefighter turnout gear at a cost of $500 per set.

Finally, council adopted a proclamation in honor of former council member Robert Sheehan, who died recently. Sheehan served on council from 2000 to 2007 and on the zoning board from 1994 to 1998. His commitment to Lisbon was praised at the March meeting by council members Tom Darcy, Cheryl Mills and Jeff Snyder.