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City Council debates whether manager has met all incentives

By Staff | Jul 26, 2011

City Manager Gary King received $17,750 out of the $20,000 in total incentives outlined in his contract Monday night. A City Council majority found that King did not achieve one of his incentive goals and only partially achieved the other.
Council was tasked with filling out a ranking system of King’s performance during his time as city manager, but those rankings and their associated comments were not discussed.
Instead, council stuck solely to determining if King achieved the 11 goals stated in his contract and council had difficulty deciding what King actually achieved.
Mayor John Sullivan said King did not roll back or maintain the water and sewer rate by a date specific to the contract.
Sullivan said he achieved much of those savings himself, in part. And that council worked to lower those rates through their Committee of the Whole meetings.
Water rates were scheduled to go up 15 percent but council worked to bring that back to 8 percent, Sullivan said, the rate that was in effect during the time of King’s contract.
“He doesn’t drive the process up here, we do,” Sullivan said.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he feels King did not meet his second objective — bring in the 2011 budget at the same millage in 2009- 2010 while reducing use of reserves by $250,000 — because his hands were tied to a budget that was partially the work of Carl Schwing, one-time Interim City Manager.
King, for his part, said he met, and in many cases exceeded, the goals outlined within the contract.
“In my opinion I’ve met all of them, I met my contract requirements,” King said.
Councilmember Erick Kuehn said the added money in King’s pocket is not a bonus, as some are calling it in the community, but instead part of the contract that a council majority agreed upon with him.
“If you say he hasn’t earned this because other people have taken pay cuts, I don’t believe that,” Kuehn said.
Councilmember Bill Deile, who negotiated the contract with King, said the city manager very clearly met his goals. While he had help from city staff, it was King’s strategies and vision that led to city wide savings, he said.
“Staff had to work with the city manager but he was the one charged with obtaining these goals,” Deile said.
Councilmember Marty McClain, King’s most staunch critic, said that some of King’s work could and did result in savings, but much of the effort is still unproven and it is important to make the necessary adjustments in the incentive portion.
“Some of these things are not proven,” McClain said.
King will now work on the second incentive portion of his contract, which he’s expected to bring before council in two weeks. Chulakes-Leetz said King did not meet the terms of his current contract by not bringing forward those incentives 60 days prior to his one-year anniversary.
“I expect all parties to honor the contract,” he added.