City manager receives $10,000 raise

April 3, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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After evaluating City Manager Rob Wyman’s performance in several closed executive sessions, the Newcastle City Council approved a $10,000 raise for the position at its March 18 meeting.

The raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, increases Wyman’s annual salary from $120,000 to $130,000. The council also granted Wyman two days of merit leave, the same as last year.

Wyman was hired as interim city manager in January 2010, and the council selected him as the permanent city manager that August. This is the third consecutive year that the council awarded him a raise, and it’s his highest yet. He received a $6,000 raise in 2012 and a $4,000 raise in 2013.

Rob Wyman

Rob Wyman

“Mr. Wyman is a solid city manager. He’s a great community connector. He’s done very good work. I feel this is fair compensation for the job he’s done,” said Councilman John Dulcich, who made the motion awarding the raise.

A city employee’s performance or qualifications can be evaluated in executive session by a governmental body, but a decision, consent among the body or final action relating to a city employee’s salaries or wages must be discussed in a public meeting, according to state law.

Council members described the raise as an effort to both elevate Wyman’s pay to fall more in line with his peers, and provide some separation between his salary and that of his department directors.

Wyman’s lack of experience as a city manager was reflected in his initial salary, Councilwoman Lisa Jensen said, and it was time to reconcile his pay with his now four years of service.

“We did start him low, and we took a bit of a risk with someone who hadn’t done the job before, but it’s paid off well for us,” she said.

The raise was approved by a 6-1 vote of the council. Deputy Mayor John Drescher was the lone dissent.

Drescher said he had no qualms about the city manager’s performance, even thanking Wyman for his support in getting him up to speed about his duties as a new councilman, but he couldn’t in good conscience approve the raise due to concerns “around the costs we’re burdened by.”

Drescher also said he supported a significant increase to Wyman’s salary, but had concerns about this 8.3 percent increase and future efforts to maintain that level.

Councilman Gordon Bisset said he agreed that the $10,000 raise, or the more than 8 percent increase, was not something he’d like to see continue in the future, but he felt it was the appropriate moment to reward Wyman for all of his past work.

“In view of the low start and our sort of just incremental increases, I think now is the time to reward him for the excellent job he’s done,” he said.

Newcastle City Hall has become a more welcoming place, with a better overall attitude since Wyman took over, Jensen said.

Wyman has also orchestrated some great department hires, council members said, and been particularly responsive to council questions and requests.

“We have a great staff, a very hardworking staff and that’s a credit to Rob’s leadership,” Mayor Steve Buri said.

After the raise was approved, Wyman thanked the council members for their kind words and promised his efforts and work ethic wouldn’t diminish.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence and will continue to work as hard or harder in the future,” he said.

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