Raleigh city employees will see a slight reduction in their supplemental retirement contributions from the city, even as the city manager and the city attorney will see a 1 percent increase.
The increases were approved by the city council after City Attorney Thomas McCormick and City Manager Russell Allen were given positive annual reviews in March and April, respectively. The official amendments made to the city’s 401(a) retirement plan were approved by the council at the June 21 meeting.
The city will now contribute 14 percent of McCormick’s base salary to his supplementary retirement fund. McCormick was also given a $5,000 raise at the time of his review. It was his first increase since 2008 and brought his current salary up to $220,000.
In lieu of a salary increase, Allen also saw an increase in his retirement contribution from 15 to 16 percent along with option to accrue 10 extra vacation days for a total of 120. Allen’s last increase was in 2009, bringing his salary to $220,000.
Michael Williams, a spokesman for the city, said an annual review is required for the city manager, city attorney and city clerk, all of whom report directly to the council. Any changes in their compensation are at the council’s discretion.
Gail Smith, the city clerk, also received a nominal raise at the time of her review from $117,500 to $120,000, but did not see any changes in her retirement benefits.
“We review those three positions at different times of the year,” explained Mayor Charles Meeker. “The manager in the spring, usually in April, and the attorney and clerk in the fall.”
The raises came just a few months shy of the adoption of next year’s budget, which decreased the city’s supplementary retirement contributions for employees from a maximum of 3 percent to 2 percent. This does not include sworn police officers who, by state law, have 5 percent contributed towards their retirement.
When the Record asked Meeker how he would respond to inquiries relating to the raises just before employee cuts, he responded, “That’s a valid point. There were not five members of the council that were willing to restore the supplemental retirement or the merit pay, that I’d hope we could do.”
He went on to say since the council could not agree on a recurring method of income, such as increasing the fees on solid waste, they could not guarantee they’d have the money in the future. The result was a $500 bonus to be given to employees on Jan. 1.
Budget and Management Services Director Joyce Munro said there are still some administrative and implementation questions that must be worked out with the city council.
City Manager Allen was not available for comment Friday.