Before Clovis City Council members start recruiting for a new city manager, they want to be sure the city's top post is attractive to the best-qualified candidates.
The council Monday night approved a plan that would pay the city's top administrator more money than the former city manager. In a 4-1 vote Monday night, council members supported a salary range of $154,200 to $196,800.
Former City Manager Kathy Millison, who left in October to become Santa Rosa's city manager, was paid about $152,000, much less than managers in several smaller cities in the Valley. Her job in Santa Rosa pays about $216,000.
Without a higher salary, "it will send a negative message to any candidates who are looking at us," Mayor Harry Armstrong said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The council hired a recruitment firm last month with the expectation of getting the process started in December and completing it by early next year. The salary issue was a major sticking point.
Council Member Nathan Magsig said the city's salary range needs to be high enough to attract candidates from all over California and even outside the state.
The council examined four options for the city manager's salary range, three presented by staff and one by Council Member Bob Whalen. His proposal, with a starting range of $133,200, failed. The salary range that passed did so without Whalen's approval.
"There is a lot more to attract someone to come to the city of Clovis than salary," he said.
The goal for council members was to make the city manager the highest-paid city employee by 10% over the next highest-paid employee.
The range proposed by Whalen created too much "compaction" between the city manager and other employees, said Council Member Lynne Ashbeck, adding: "At $11,000 per month, nobody is going to apply."