Palo Alto's four council-appointed officers are all set to get raises on Monday night, when the City Council convenes for its final meeting of the year.
If the council approves the contract amendments, City Manager James Keene and City Attorney Molly Stump will each receive 4.75 percent raises. This would increase Keene's salary from the current $285,002 to $298,542. Stump's salary would rise from $258,519 to $270,712.
City Auditor Harriet Richardson is set to get a 4 percent pay bump, while City Clerk Beth Minor's pay would go up by 3.5 percent. Their new salaries would be $173,368 and $141,149, respectively.
The salary increases for the only four staff members who are directly appointed by the City Council are classified by the city as "merit pay," based on the council's annual evaluation of performance. A report from the Human Resources Department notes that the four officials' agreements do not include "provisions for general wage or other adjustments provided to other management employees."
Earlier this year, the city's largest employment groups Service Employee International Union, Local 521, the police and firefighter unions; and the non-unionized group of management and professional workers have all received new agreements with pay hikes. In April, the council approved new contracts that give the SEIU workers 7.5 percent raises spread out over three years (1.5 percent immediately and two subsequent 3 percent increases) and that gave further increases to workers who were making below the market median for their positions. The police union received similar terms (though unlike with the SEIU, the 7.5 percent is spread out evenly over three years), while the firefighters' new contract provided for an immediate a 5 percent pay bump, followed by an 8 percent increase in July 2017.
The salaries of members of both the police and the firefighter unions also were realigned to better match the market median, which had the effect of further raising the compensation of some workers.
In terms of percentages, the raises for the four council-appointed officers aren't as significant as those that were approved for other employees. Furthermore, as the new Human Resources report notes, the merit-based pay increase for each official is "the only annual increase to be provided."
At the same time, the pay bumps would add to the city's expenses at a time when the council is preparing for a budget deficit that is estimated to be between $4 million and $6 million in fiscal year 2018.
Keene joined the city in 2008 has told council members that he plans to retire in 2018. Last year, Keene and Stump were the highest paid city officials, with total compensation of $307,358 and $272,214, respectively (this includes their regular salaries as well as "cash out" payments for things like unused vacation days, holidays and deferred compensation).
The salary increases are set to be approved on the council's "consent calendar," where multiple items are voted on simultaneously with no discussion.