In the original version of this post, we reported that McGinn had "awarded raises" to seven of his employees. This post has been updated to reflect the fact that mayoral assistant Allison Burson's official salary was adjusted upward 18 percent because of a clerical error that initially set her salary too low; to include a statement from the mayor's office saying that Nate Merrill's job was reclassified at a higher pay level because his previous position at the Office of Policy and Management did not have an exact equivalent in the mayor's office; and the fact that two employees, including the mayor, were given automatic, nondiscretionary cost-of-living adjustments of two percent.
Seven of Mayor Mike McGinn's personal staffers received salary increases earlier this year, many of them just days or weeks after he issued two executive orders eliminating a planned 2010 salary increase for executives, managers, and strategic advisers in all city departments, and requiring departments to obtain his authorization before making any salary offer for executive, manager, and strategic adviser positions.
The raises—which McGinn's staff characterize as "cost-of-living increases," not raises—ranged from cost-of-living adjustments of around 2 percent to job reclassifications that were much larger.
Meeting with PubliCola in his office yesterday afternoon, McGinn pointed out that most of his staffers make substantially less than their predecessors under former mayor Greg Nickels—so, the mayor's total office budget is actually nearly $200,000 less than Nickels'. (That figure includes the $10,000 of his own salary he said he's trying to figure out how to return to the city). McGinn has a point: For example, Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith makes $124,988, compared to former deputy mayor Tim Ceis' salary of $187,317; legal counsel Carl Marquardt makes $124,998, compared to his predecessor Regina LaBelle's salary of $130,001.
In general, McGinn's staff makes less across the board than Nickels'. But, I asked the mayor yesterday, isn't that in part because most of them have little or no experience in city government? In most industries, starting salaries are higher for people with more experience; why should city government be any different?
"I'm not going to sit here and badmouth my employees, nor am I going to badmouth Nickels' employees." Most of his staff, McGinn continued, "are not starting their first jobs," and many have experience from other areas.
A full list of the raises, from largest to smallest, below the jump.
In April, mayoral assistant Nate Merrill's job was reclassified, retroactive to early February, from administrative specialist at the Office of Policy and Management to mayoral staff assistant—a change that gave him a 7 percent pay increase, from $48,045 to $51,407. Mayoral spokesman Aaron Pickus says his new position, Mayoral Assistant II, was the lowest-paid position Merrill could be assigned while still being exempt from the city's civil service rules.
Mayoral staff assistant Kindle Shaw got a two percent pay increase at the beginning of January. The reason given, according to city salary documents, was "Market adjustment." Pickus confirms that the adjustment was at the mayor's discretion.
Also at the beginning of January, mayoral staff assistant Melia Brooks got a similar "market adjustment" raise of just under two percent, which was also discretionary.
On April 14, mayoral staff assistant April Thomas' job was reclassified, retroactive to early February, from mayoral staff assistant I to mayoral staff assistant II—a change that gave her an increase of about 2.5 percent, from a $50,112 a year $51,406.
On January 6, project manager Julie Tobin received a cost-of-living adjustment of about 2 percent, increasing her annual salary from $83,395 to $85,065.
And, as we reported earlier this month, McGinn himself received a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment, which he has said he will return to the city.
* All annual salaries were calculated by multiplying the employee's hourly rate by a standard multiplier, provided by the city, of 2088.
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