Boatright receives 45% pay increase
By SHELLY WILKISON
Crediting him with bringing in new residential development and new business, the City Council voted unanimously Monday to give City Administrator Greg Boatright a 30 percent pay increase effective in November, plus a 7.5 percent increase each year for the next two years — a 45 percent pay increase.
The decision, which was made after an hour and 39 minutes in executive session, comes on the heels of a salary study commissioned by the Council that recommended all city salaries be adjusted to place them in the median of the market.
The study showed that for the City Administrator, whose salary and benefits are set by the council, his current salary of $91,789 was 44.4 percent below the market median for the position.
Mayor Connie Fuller said Monday that by the third year of pay increases, Boatright would be closer to the median pay.
Effective the second pay period in November, Boatright will receive a 30 percent increase to bring his salary to $119,325.83. Positive performance evaluations in 2018 and 2019 will result in a 7.5 percent increase both years, bringing his salary to $137,224.70 in 2019.
According to the salary survey of 13 cities, the overall average salary of the city administrator was $135,321. The median minimum was $110,000 and the median maximum was $162,500.
“This increase is something that has been overdue,” said Fuller, following the vote. “We did a salary schedule to study the effects and what our salaries were compared to cities we compete with. Greg’s was way low.
“He’s done a wonderful job for the city. We’re very pleased with what he’s done,” she said. “We are so pleased with his ability to negotiate to bring in new businesses into the city, to bring in new developments and we’re very pleased to give him this increase.”
Still on the table are the study’s proposed adjustments to other city salaries, which the survey showed fell well below the other cities surveyed. On Oct. 10, Ray Associates, which was paid $29,754 to conduct the survey for the City, recommended the Council implement the salary adjustments for all positions to bring them to the market median at a cost of $179,000 — a 15.66 percent increase in payroll costs. Anticipating increased salaries as a result of the study, the Council budgeted a 15 percent increase in payroll in fiscal 2017.
Following the meeting Monday, Fuller told The Independent that the plan moving forward is to talk with department heads about employee evaluations.
“We’re trying to do the best we can to get everybody up to the median,” she said.
She added that she didn’t anticipate the Council would implement the proposed adjustments across the board as recommended by the firm “because it’s just too much money, but our goal is to move everybody to the median.”
Boatright said Tuesday that the result of the salary study was “sticker shock” for the Council as it was presented Oct. 10. He said the Council didn’t feel comfortable with implementing the recommended adjustments without regard to tenure, job performance or funding.
“If a person was evaluated below expectations, what are we saying to that person and other employees if the position is funded at a higher level,” Boatright said. “And it’s hard to look at a high increase for those positions when the employee has been here less than a year. They (Council) can’t separate themselves from the people in those positions, and I agree with that. There are other issues to be considered.”
Boatright said the Council is trying to utilize the salary study information to find the middle ground.
“They are trying to utilize the information as best they can, and trying to find the middle ground to try to implement it,” he said. “It’s difficult to do in one year. Their approach is to do that based on annual evaluations. As they did in my case, they want to do as much as they can in year one and divide what’s left in the next two years.”
Boatright’s employment contract is not up for renewal until September 2018. He said the action taken by Council Monday didn’t stipulate a change to his contract.
Boatright, a former Williamson County Commissioner, was hired as Liberty Hill’s City Administrator in September 2013 at a starting salary of $80,000 and a $350 per month vehicle allowance. Half of his salary was paid by the Economic Development Corp.