Retiring Palo Alto City Manager James Keene has ended speculation that he may be receiving a pay raise just before the end of his tenure — a move that would also increase the pension benefits he is set to receive. On Dec. 5, Mayor Liz Kniss announced that Keene had preemptively and voluntarily turned down any increase in pay that might be considered, saying he would refuse to accept if it were offered by the City Council.
Keene is retiring this month after 10 years as city manager of the Silicon Valley city. He previously served as city manager in Berkeley and Tucson and has held top posts with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), International City/County Management Association, and the Alliance for Innovation.
In a statement, Mayor Kniss said Keene was afraid that speculation about the pay raise would distract from his coming retirement.
"He is more focused on highlighting the contributions of colleagues, Council and the community as he finishes his time in Palo Alto," said Kniss. "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."
Palo Alto Online reports that Keene earned a salary of $306,009 last year. With benefits included, his take-home pay was about $327,692.