Although one councilmember was against a nearly $43,000 raise and $20,000 bonus given to the Millbrae city manager, the supermajority of members believe the raise is well-deserved and is in line with what she was promised from the get-go.
Councilman Reuben Holober was the one vote against the 22 percent boost in Marcia Raines’ pay from $192,996 to $235,800 following her performance review.
“We discussed the item in closed session,” he said Tuesday night. “I was not in support of item in closed session and plan to vote no tonight.”
The City Council did show some concern when its 2014-15 budget was approved in June, with some worrying that the city is not bringing in enough profit. That’s with approximately $23 million in revenue and about $26 million in expenditures. Mayor Wayne Lee said this is the very reason why Raines needs to stay.
“It’s (money for the raise) already in the budget,” he said. “I’m concerned about four years out from now. The important thing right now is to invest in increasing our revenues and Marcia is critical to our investment strategy.”
Other councilmembers noted that when Raines assumed the city manager role in December 2008, she was promised the same amount of money the previous city manager made, but didn’t ultimately receive that pay; she received a compensation and benefits package of $18,000 less than the previous city manager. Additionally, starting in 2011, she took a 5 percent reduction in compensation like all other city workers to address the city’s budget shortfall due to the economic downturn.
“The council was not able to honor those agreements,” said Mayor Wayne Lee. “In order to be competitive with other cities, and to keep somebody who would be difficult to replace, she’s well deserving of being in parity of a city of our size.”
In her sixth year with the city, she’s had no salary adjustment since day one, said Vice Mayor Robert Gottschalk.
“She’s done a tremendous job for the city and we can afford a little bit better treatment,” he said. “We have to be concerned about keeping good employees.”
When determining Raines’ new salary, the council considered the history of her compensation, along with a current market data survey comparing the compensation packages of the city managers of cities north and south along the Peninsula. Millbrae’s compensation package is at the bottom of the group. Current market data for 16 cities in the West Bay Area revealed that the annual salaries of the city managers ranged from a high of $262,236 to a low of $192,996 in Millbrae, according to a staff report.
“The City Council recognized the city manager’s leadership in: strengthening the city’s financial condition, effecting regional cost effective partnerships in the areas of law enforcement and fire services, driving and fostering economic development opportunities, expanding recreational programs and addressing infrastructure deficiencies of the city,” the report stated. “The city felt it was critical to continue the progress achieved to date under the successful leadership of the city manager and considered the difficulty and cost to replace her with a person of comparable experience and knowledge.”
The report also notes that she will become the president of the City Manager’s Department in the League of California Cities Association in September.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Anne Oliva said she’s happy to have Raines still on board, while Councilwoman Marge Colapietro said she’s hoping the public will understand the logic that was presented.
“Perhaps that’s an indication that there was maybe very little feedback if any,” she said. “I was on the City Council when we searched for a new city manager back in 2008 and we made a commitment to each person who interviewed that they would receive the same amount of wages and benefits that the previous city manager received. That did not occur over the last five years.”
Raines didn’t make a fuss about the reduced salary, Colapietro said.
“Over the years, I have felt very badly that she was not receiving what was promised to her,” she said. “I was happy the supermajority of this council was in agreement that we needed to do something about that based on her job performance and where city is now. It was a long time coming for a performance payment and a wage increase.”
In other city news, the city has hired Chip Taylor as its new Public Works director and Deborah Nelson as the new Community Development director. Steve Toler, former assistant city manager in Foster City, is being added to Millbrae staff as an assistant city manager.
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