How much is too much to pay a city manager? That’s the question at the heart of Sacramento’s latest controversy, sparked by a 7.5% pay raise for administrator Howard Chan.
Chan will now earn an annual $400,652 in compensation, making him the second-highest paid city manager in the state behind Santa Clara's. The Council already voted to boost Chan's pay by 21% last year. With five raises during his six-year tenure, he’s seen his compensation increase 42%.
Criticism over Chan’s pay bump has come from all sides. Katie Valenzuela, a progressive voice on the Council, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s Jon Coupal both denounced the move.
“This is a significant amount of money, and, frankly, this would be different if we hadn’t just given our unions who work under the city management team less than half of this percentage increase in their salaries,” Valenzuela said.
“I think the timing of this proposal is going to make taxpayers scratch their heads a little bit,” Coupal told California Public Radio. “You know, we're on the precipice of a recession and a lot of folks in the private sector do not have an opportunity to get any raise at all.”
Valenzuela was the only member of the Council to vote against the pay raise. Other members praised Chan’s steady leadership during one of the most difficult times for local governments.
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Image Credit: City of Sacramento