At Tuesday's City Council meeting, council member John Inks criticized the $240,000 salary the council approved for new city manager Daniel Rich, saying the council missed a rare opportunity to cut employee costs.
"I can't go along with this," Inks said. "I support his appointment, not the salary."
Inks was the sole opponent to Rich's compensation deal approved Tuesday, but the vote on whether to hire Rich was unanimous.
"Those of us elected to council don't get many opportunities to be assertive about containing employee compensation costs," Inks said. With every new union contract, costs seem to be "spiraling up."
Rich was initially offered a lower salary, but a council majority accepted a higher counter-offer from Rich, Inks said. The council also took note of one Mountain View department head's relatively high salary in making the deal, Inks said.
The salary deal is a 20-percent raise from Rich's previous job at the City of Campbell, Inks said, but former City Manager Kevin Duggan was set to take no raise this year, as he had last year, Inks noted. Duggan was paid $260,000 in his last year on the job, said interim City Manager Melissa Stevenson Dile.
Mayor Jac Siegel said Rich's salary was "still considerably below" what other city managers are making in comparable cities in the area.
Member Ronit Bryant said she felt Rich's salary was appropriate. It is "commensurate with the importance of this job, the size of this budget and number of employees" the city has, she said.
Rich's compensation package includes a cell phone allowance of $70 a month, 22 days of vacation time annually with "an initial bank" of 100 hours of vacation. His health care, retirement health care, life insurance and disability insurance are the same as what other department heads enjoy. He will receive a 2.7-percent-at-55 retirement pension deal, but will pay 10.5 percent of the cost from his salary. The city will also contribute to a deferred compensation plan for Rich in an amount equal to 2 percent of his salary.
A $400 a month car allowance is one of the benefits Duggan received that won't be passed on to Rich. He also will not receive money to purchase a home in Mountain View, as Duggan received 20 years ago.
Rich starts his new job July 27.