No final decision was made on Wednesday night, but Bloomington’s city council took a clear step towards giving the position of elected city clerk a big salary boost.
On a 7–2 vote, the council passed a resolution indicating its intent to set the clerk’s salary for 2024 at $87,000 . That would be a 34-percent increase over the $64,773 that the job pays this year.
Dissenting were Steve Volan and Kate Rosenbarger, who supported a higher figure of $104,089. The bigger number was in the original draft of the resolution put forward by Matt Flaherty.
Flaherty and Isabel Piedmont-Smith joined Volan and Rosenbarger in voting against an amendment put forward by Dave Rollo and Sue Sgambelluri, which decreased the amount to $87,000.
Unlike Volan and Rosenbarger, Flaherty and Piedmont-Smith were willing to support the compromise figure.
As Flaherty put it, “I can’t really support…the amendment—though, of course, if it passes, would support the resolution as a whole.” He added, “As a step forward, it’s better than nothing.”
Bloomington’s city clerk is Nicole Bolden, who is seeking re-election to her third four-year term this year. She is unopposed on this year’s Nov. 7 ballot, as she was in the Democratic Party’s primary. That’s the same pattern as in 2019 and 2015.
It’s a resolution that expresses the council’s intent to set the elected city clerk’s salary for 2024 at $104,089, which would be a significant increase.
For 2023 the clerk’s compensation is $64,773.
Incumbent clerk Nicole Bolden is this year seeking reelection to her third four-year term. Bolden appears on the Nov. 7 ballot as the Democratic Party’s nominee. She is unopposed.
Wednesday’s resolution requests that Bloomington mayor John Hamilton accommodate the bigger amount into the final budget appropriations that he eventually submits to the council on Sept. 27. The final budget is set for an adoption vote on Oct. 11.
It’s the ordinance that the board of public works recommended in mid-August that the city council adopt, in response to complaints about unhoused people blocking sidewalks with their belongings. The ordinance regulating obstructions of the right-of-way could get a vote the following week, at the council’s Sept. 13 meeting.
Stephen Lucas, Bloomington city council attorney (Bloomington, Aug. 28, 2023)
Nicole Bolden, Bloomington city clerk (Aug. 28, 2023)
On the first night of Bloomington’s 2024 departmental budget hearings, Bloomington’s elected city clerk Nicole Bolden opened her presentation like this: “I’m going to start with the very big elephant in the room: This is not the budget proposal that I wanted to make to the council this evening.”
Non-union employees in the city will see a 5-percent salary increase as a part of the proposed 2024 budget.
But Bolden wants the city clerk’s position paid substantially more, not just 5-percent more than the $64,773 that is specified in a 2023 salary ordinance. That’s the salary ordinance that covers elected city officials—the clerk, city councilmembers and the mayor.
No final decisions were made Monday night.
After the discussion of the clerk’s salary came some deliberations on the proposed salary for the city council’s administrator/attorney, Stephen Lucas.
The council appears to have already convinced the mayor to include in the 2024 proposed budget a substantial increase in the council administrator/attorney salary. After the meeting, Lucas told The B Square his understanding was that the increase for his position is 10.6 percent.
That would put the compensation for his position at around $104,000 for 2024.
In the proposed 2024 budget, the salaries for city councilmembers were erroneously left without the planned 5-percent increase, which would have meant a raise to $21,153 for 2024. But based on deliberations on Monday night, some councilmembers are looking to consider a more substantial increase for the position of city council.
Nicole Bolden (March 26, 2023) B Square file photo.
Sydney Zulich (May 2, 2023) B Square file photo.
Geoff McKim (Oct. 29, 2019) B Square file photo.
David Henry (May 4, 2023) B Square file photo.
The six precincts of District 6 are outlined in brown. Surrounding districts (clowise 2, 3, and 4) are shown in green red and yellow.
David Wolfe Bender (May 18, 2023) B Square file photo.
David Wolfe Bender has withdrawn as the Democratic Party’s District 6 city council nominee in Bloomington’s Nov. 7 municipal election.
Two weeks ago, on May 18, the county election board had convened a hearing on Bender’s disputed residency in District 6.
The board voted to refer the matter to Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant, to consider possible felony charges, and to the Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita on the question of his eligibility as a candidate.
Since then, there has been no word on Bender’s case from either the prosecutor or the attorney general.
Given Bender’s withdrawal, the question of his eligibility is now academic.
Bender was unopposed in the primary. No Republican filed as a primary candidate.
To place a Democrat on the ballot, the party will now convene a caucus of the five sitting precinct chairs of District 6, according to Monroe County Democratic Party chair David Henry.
The date of the caucus has not yet been determined. But the deadline for filling a ballot vacancy, for either the Democrats or the Republicans, is July 3.
Thomson did not get a majority of the 8,012 votes in the three-way race.
Thomson’s 3,444 votes gave her about 43 percent of the vote, compared to 33 percent (2,644) for Susan Sandberg and 24 percent (1,924) for Don Griffin.
No Republican has yet declared a candidacy for mayor and no independent candidate has submitted the required 352 signatures to qualify for the November ballot. To appear on the ballot as an independent candidate for mayor or city council, qualifying signatures have to be submitted by June 30.
Sent the questionnaire were Democratic Party primary candidates for Bloomington mayor, city clerk and city council. The questionnaire was not sent to candidates affiliated with the Republican Party, because BLM B-town does not consider the party to be in alignment with its basic principles.
According to BLM B-town, their candidate assessments are provided to voters for informational purposes—they are not endorsements.
Candidates were given seven days to fill out the questionnaire, and were sent subsequent reminders after the survey was sent, according to BLM B-town
A total of 18 candidates wrote out answers to the questionnaire. It was designed to allow assessments of candidates in the categories of: Awareness, Position, Vision, Voices at the Table, Commitment & Effectiveness, Passion & Comportment.
Candidates are assessed on a scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”.
Some candidates did not respond to the questionnaire. About those candidates, BLM B-town wrote: “[C]andidates’ refusals to provide answers for this Voter’s Guide should remind us that the majority of the Bloomington political landscape is built to sustain anti-Black practices.”