Despite some misgivings, the Scottsdale City Council Tuesday narrowly approved pay raises for the city manager and three top administrators.
Some on the council said City Manager Jan Dolan’s job performance didn’t merit all of the more than $13,000 increase in her base salary, while others criticized the closed-door performance review process.
The council voted 4-3 to grant raises ranging from 5 percent to 10 percent for Dolan, City Attorney Deborah Robberson, City Auditor Cheryl Dreska and City Clerk Carolyn Jagger.
“Our city is successful, it’s well-run, and it’s clearly due to many of the actions of these four here,” said Mayor Mary Manross.
Despite being scheduled as a “consent” vote, or one that typically takes place without debate, much of the discussion centered on Dolan’s performance, though it was largely in general terms.
Vice Mayor Jim Lane and Councilmen Bob Littlefield and Tony Nelssen voted against the pay increases. Lane criticized Dolan’s management style and tone, and said the city manager has a low regard for financial oversight.
“It leads to inefficient use of our citizens’ resources or simply just waste,” he said.
Nelssen said there were “morale issues” among city staff, while Councilman Wayne Ecton described Dolan’s performance as outstanding.
“Certainly the city stands out under her direction,” Ecton said.
Dolan has earned $167,670 since July 2005. The 8 percent raise pushes her base salary to $181,083 and her deferred compensation to $25,351 a year.
Dolan also is eligible for a $650 monthly car allowance, and if terminated, would receive nine months of compensation and benefits.
Councilmen Lane, Littlefield and Nelssen have been critical of the review process, which did not produce a written job performance for any of the officials. The oral reviews were conducted in November and December in closed session.
Littlefield said that since the council had decided to discuss the raises in public session Tuesday, it made no sense to keep the process behind closed doors.
“I wonder why we couldn’t have had a written document that the public could look at in advance and comment on?” he said.
Manross said the reviews were held in closed session out of respect for the city officials being reviewed. She said public performance reviews would become a “political spectacle.”
The city previously denied the Tribune’s public records request for the self-evaluations produced by each of the four officials.
On Friday, Dan Barr, the Tribune’s attorney with the law firm Perkins, Coie, Brown & Bain, faxed a letter to Scottsdale demanding release of Dolan’s self-evaluation.
The city has yet to say whether it will release the document.
Littlefield asked the council Tuesday to schedule a discussion at a future meeting about whether the self-evaluation should be made public.
Meanwhile, city attorney Robberson’s 5 percent raise increases her salary to $157,500. She also receives a $450 a month car allowance and $15,750 per year in deferred compensation. City auditor Dreska was granted an 8 percent raise, increasing her salary to $111,758.
Dreska will also earn $2,235 in deferred compensation a year and a $300 a month car allowance. City clerk Jagger received a 10 percent raise, bringing her salary to $101,244. Jagger will also receive $10,124 in deferred compensation per year. Dolan and those three officials all report directly to the council.