CAMANCHE — The Camanche City Council voted to raise City Administrator Andrew Kida's salary to $85,000, the third increase Kida has received since taking the position less than three years ago.
The Council recently approved a three year contract for Kida giving him a salary of $85,000, a $30,000 increase from Kida's $55,000 starting salary in 2016.
The contract calls for an annual review of Kida's performance and will include six months severance through the duration of the contract.
Camanche City Councilman Brent Brightman recommended the salary increase because Kida's compensation is lower than salaries for administrators in comparable cities. The city would be foolish not to raise Kida's salary, Brightman said citing Kida's service time and where he has taken the city during his time as city administrator.
"With the experience he has right now with this city and where he's at functioning in this city, I'm just afraid that if we don't get him up there with the rest of them, and there's nothing saying we give this again next year," Brightman said. "But I'm just saying we need to move him up now before he takes the big plunge and we get somebody in here and we say $75,000. They're going to laugh at us."
Kida was hired in November 2016 at a salary of $55,000. He requested a raise to $65,000. The council voted no in June 2018 to any increase but approved an increase to $60,000 in July 2018. A motion to raise Kida's salary to $75,000 was approved in April 2018.
Council member Amber Metzger said she had an issue with $30,000 in salary increases over a three year period.
"I agree that Andrew is below the normal pay scales of other cities that you have provided us. I absolutely agree with that," Metzger said. "But for me it boils down to three years of service, $30,000 in raises in three years. That to me is unheard of," she said.
"I think that as a city we can do it a little bit differently as far as increments. Eighty-five thousand, I think, is the normal. I definitely agree with you. And do I think he absolutely deserves that? He's going in the right direction," Metzger said. "We didn't have hardly any negative things to say. So for me personally it's just trying to wrap my head around $30,000 in wage increases in three years."
Brightman said the city needs to ignore Kida's starting salary of $55,000. "When you have a quality employee like that, you want to retain that knowledge," Brightman said. "You want to retain that experience. And you have to look at the job. Not the individual. Not his past. It's the position. So how important is this position to us."
Camanche Mayor Trevor Willis said he sees both sides of the issue. The city is low in its pay of the city administrator position, he said.
"I thought we were low when we did it, when we hired Andrew," Willis said. "And I voiced that concern then. So, I think, yes, we probably need to get up to that point," Willis said.
"But then I think back to, Andrew took $55,000 to come here and has been here two-and-a-half years and already has $20,000 in raises," Willis said. "So I see both sides of it. Not to mention another $10,000."
Kida confirmed there is no placeholder in the budget for an increase in his salary. He did not put the proposed increase in the budget, he said, because he has been accused of trying to give himself a raise.
Kida said an original budget was at $65,000 when his salary was set at $55,000. They left the amount at $65,000 when the next budget became available, at which time, Kida says, he was accused of trying to give himself a raise.
"The option would be to move it over," Kida said. "We'll move more of the obligation over to water and garbage when we do that and streets. And that money can come out of those funds. I've diversified that. It's not coming out of general fund taxes."
The contract also includes three weeks of vacation a year with no escalator for years of servitude. Kida receives health insurance and sick leave accumulation as a regular city employee, $250 a month for car expense and $40 a month for cell phone expense.
The city pays for Rotary and any service clubs.