GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Grand Rapids city manager, city attorney and city treasurer are getting pay raises, even though the 2% hikes did not have the support of the full city commission.
City Manager Greg Sundstrom's salary goes to $146,868. Several perks were continued from past contracts, including a $700 a month vehicle allowance.
Attorney Catherine Mish's salary goes to $118,003. She'll also received $3, 600 a year to cover tuition costs as she pursues a master's degree in Public Administration.
City Treasurer Albert Mooney's annual pay goes to $112,484.
First Ward Commissioner Dave Shaffer and Third Ward Commission Elias Lumpkins voted no on the increases, suggested by the commission after a closed door evaluation of those employees.
The salary for City Clerk Lori Parks remains unchanged.
Lumpkins suggested Parks' evaluation put too much emphasis on long lines and other problems during the presidential election and not the broader successes of the clerk's office.
"I'm concerned about the process we've used," said Lumpkins, before casting his "no" vote.
But Mayor George Heartwell said, "That's not the only reason," though he would not discuss the specifics of any of the evaluations.
While Parks and the others are public employees, their evaluations can be closed to the public under provisions of the Opens Meeting Act.
Evaluations of the top four appointed city officials is a short process. The contracts end at the end of the calendar years. Some on the commission suggested a mid-term evaluation.
Shaffer, the other no vote, expressed concerns over the process as well.
He said the current system looks at the individual official, and less about the overall budget situation, on which many union contracts are based.
"We have some employees who are at a pay freeze right now," Shaffer said.
But Heartwell supported the raises. Not only have the appointed officials taken pay and benefit cuts in recent years, he said, they also gave up so-called step increases.
Steps are a common, merit-based contract clause that award 5% pay increases to most city employees.
Second Ward Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss said commissioners looked at similar jobs in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Saginaw and other Michigan cities in evaluating the pay.
At the end of the vote, Heartwell appointed Shaffer and Lumpkins to the committee that will help evaluate appointed officials pay in the future.
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