Palo Alto City Manager James Keene, who is retiring this month after 10 years of service, has informed the City Council that he will not be accepting a raise, Mayor Liz Kniss announced Wednesday afternoon.
Keene is one of four council-appointed officers — along with City Clerk Beth Minor, City Attorney Molly Stump and City Auditor Harriet Richardson — whose salaries the council discussed at a City Council closed-session meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The council also held a performance evaluation for Keene.
According to Kniss' announcement, during the conversation with Keene and before the Tuesday deliberation, Keene "let the council know that he would voluntarily refuse to accept any salary increase were it to be offered."
Kniss said the council has heard from several community members who speculated about Keene's potential salary increase, an adjustment that would bump up his pension. Last year, Keene earned a salary of $306,009, according to city data. With benefits factored in, his total compensation was $327,692.
Kniss wrote in her announcement that Keene felt that "speculation about a salary raise at this point in time would distract from concluding his tenure with the city."
"He is more focused on highlighting the contributions of colleagues, Council and the community as he finishes his time in Palo Alto," the announcement stated. "The Council is appreciative of Jim's leadership and dedication to our community, and we look forward to the opportunity to thank him publicly over the next few weeks as his career with Palo Alto comes to a close and he begins the next chapter."
The council has two more regular meetings scheduled this year before it adjourns for its winter recess beginning on Dec. 18.