City Councilman Jim Madaffer promised to make up the extra costs of hiring former Mayor Dick Murphy’s press secretary by asking employees to take unpaid time off.

As it is currently budgeted, that request would require the eight employees in his office to each take an average of $15,813 worth of unpaid leave in 2007.

That’s more than 10 weeks of unpaid time off this coming year for each employee.

Employees in Madaffer’s office make an average of $75,708, about $16,000 more a year than the average of the second highest-paying office, according to budget documents. The rest of the council offices pay staffers, on average, between $48,359 and $59,380.

Originally, Madaffer hired former Murphy staffer Colleen Windsor to oversee the new Grantville redevelopment area in his district, hoping to use the new tax money generated by the area to fund her $88,000-a-year salary. However, city staff later told Madaffer he would have to finance the position out of his office’s budget, and the creation of the district has been stalled by a lawsuit from the county.

That means Madaffer’s office must in 2007 find a way – through unpaid time off or other means – to cut $126,500 and arrive at its budgeted goal of spending $554,545 this year on salaries.

The budget also leaves one position open. He also said he’d use other “salary savings” to cover the gap.

Windsor’s hiring contributed to a 21-percent budget deficit in Madaffer’s office for 2006.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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