Coleman wondered, “When did you become economic development director?” The answer is Jan. 1, 2008, according to a past article in The Herald-Tribune. Coleman argued, “One of the premises of you taking that position was you were part time as a mayor” before that date.
The mayor said, “I feel like I’m being cross-examined …. I’ve been more than full time. I can tell you I put in 60 hours” weekly. Batesville Utilities Service Board President Sue Siefert stressed, “To say Mayor Fledderman doesn’t work 1,000 hours a year is an insult to that man.” Council President Gene Lambert agreed, “I’ve seen the work ethic. He’s always here.”
Coleman said, his voice raised, “I don’t think you qualify for this ... I don’t think it’s fair for you to change your contract with the citizenry.” Fledderman said, “You’re entitled to your opinion.”
The next day Coleman said by e-mail, “Basically, I think that anyone that qualifies for PERF should be able to opt in. For elected officials, the handbook states that there are other considerations ... If the mayor were to qualify, I don’t think it should be retroactive ... It should be either for the next elected mayor or from this point forward.”
Jim Dreyer, who ran for mayor against Fledderman in 2011, also disagreed with funding the PERF benefit retroactively. Weigel contended, “The mayor puts in as many or more hours than the clerk-treasurer,” and the clerk-treasurer was added to PERF in 1993. Both are elected officials, he pointed out.
In 2014, the mayor will earn $78,533, according to Ordinance 6-2013. The money is derived from three sources: basic salary, $35,103; $16,430 from utilities revenues; and a $27,000 economic development director stipend. Council member Kevin Chaffee wanted to know if the PERF contribution would be figured using solely the basic salary. Weigel said according to PERF leaders, his total city income would be used to calculate the benefit.