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Citrus Heights council votes 3-1 to approve executive pay raises

Bret Daniels, Citrus Heights
Councilman Bret Daniels speaks during a Dec. 13, 2018 City Council meeting regarding salary increases. // Image credit: Metro Cable

Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights council members on Thursday night voted to approve several pay raises for city executives, with Councilman Bret Daniels opposing the raises and newly sworn-in Councilwoman Porsche Middleton opting to abstain from the vote.

The pay raises offered a 3 percent merit pay increase to the assistant city manager and community services director, along with a 4 percent raise for the police chief. Under the agreement, the police chief will also be responsible for contributing 3 percent towards the employer contribution to CalPERS, as part of a cost-sharing agreement that many cities are adopting to grapple with escalating retirement costs for public employees.

Wages and benefits reported on the California State Controller’s Office website, Publicpay.ca.gov, show the community services director’s total wages at $194,000 last year, with about $50,000 in total retirement and health benefits. The assistant city manager has similar wages and benefits listed.  Total wages listed for the police chief last year were $258,000, with about $50,000 in total retirement and health benefits.

Daniels said during the meeting that he was voting against the pay raises in an effort to “put the brakes on” out-of-balance salary increases among city executives, noting also that the city budget is going “from black to red.”  He did not oppose salary increases of 3-4 percent for police staff and officers that were also approved by the City Council the same night, an increase that was coupled with those same employees agreeing to contribute 3 percent towards the employer contribution to CalPERS retirement.

Related: Citrus Heights City Council approves first-ever $12M line of credit

Jeff Slowey, who was appointed the city’s new vice mayor on Thursday, said he believed “every one of our staff deserves these raises.” He also said during the meeting that the timing of the city’s decision to take out a $12 million line of credit last month and later approve pay increases was unrelated and “just happened to be happenstance,” saying that the raises were already built into the budget approved by the City Council earlier this year.

City Manager Christopher Boyd told the council the pay increases will not have a negative impact on the approved 2018-19 budget. He said the cost of the adjustments “will be made from savings due to vacancies and employee changes.”

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