Doyon declines Billings job; remains Great Falls manager

Greg Doyon has declined the position of city administrator in Billings.

He’ll remain in Great Falls as the city manager for the foreseeable future. Doyon was hired by Great Falls in 2008.

Earlier this month, the Billings City Council voted to offer Doyon the job. He was selected from among the four candidates who interviewed for the job.

Billings picks Great Falls city manager Greg Doyon for their city administrator position

On Friday, he wrote a letter to the Billings council withdrawing from the negotiations.

“When deciding whether to take a new city management position, it is about more than just the compensation package. For the candidate, it is also about observing how the elected officials who he/she will work for, recruits and retains its leadership. While the Council made a unanimous decision to offer me the job, I have not seen that support translate into an employment agreement appropriate for the position. As such, I respectfully decline the employment offer. I am disappointed that we could not reach mutually agreeable terms for a full Council vote, but understand that there are other capable candidates ready to accept the position,” Doyon wrote.

Doyon told The Electric on Friday that he was honored to be offered the position and appreciated the support from the Great Falls community, City Commission and staff while he worked through the negotiating process.

“The commission has been very gracious and understanding,” he said. “I’m in a community where I do feel very supported.”

Doyon said that many Great Falls staffers expressed their relief on Friday that he was staying and now that he’s made a decision, “I’m really excited that I’m staying.”

Billings was offering $155,000 in annual salary, which was $15,000 less than what Doyon asked for. Doyon came down in a Thursday counter-offer. Doyon was also asking to be included in cost-of-living raises as he is in Great Falls when they’re approved for city employees. Billings offered 0-6 percent annual merit raises.

There was some pushback and negative community response in Billings to Doyon’s salary request and there were emails to the council asking them to hold firm on their offer.

Doyon said that in applying, interviewing and negotiating for the job, he was under the impression the city would offer a competitive salary.

The recruitment brochure stated in part, Doyon wrote, “the starting annual salary for the city administrator position for the City of Billings will be market competitive depending upon the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. The current administrator is paid $155,000. An excellent fringe benefit plan, including car allowance, life insurance and a defined compensation contribution, will be provided as well. Reasonable relocation expense reimbursement will be negotiated.”

The Billings Gazette reported that the city’s consultant did a survey of cities with populations of 100,000 to 250,000 in the West and Midwest and found that their top administrators are paid $175,000 to $185,000.

“I am truly grateful for the offer to lead Billings as its next city administrator, but I am not in a position to accept an overall compensation package that is less than market competitive. I do not come to this conclusion lightly,” Doyon wrote.

In March, Great Falls City Commissioners gave Doyon a favorable review and renewed his contract for three years with a three percent salary increase, which equates to an annual salary of $136,674, and 30 days vacation.

In Doyon’s 2016 review, commissioners approved 10 additional vacation days. In the May 2015 review, commissioners approved a $4,000 salary increase and an additional 10 days vacation for fiscal year 2015-2016 and an additional $4,000 salary increase for the next fiscal year.

In 2014, when the city was dealing with significant cuts to pay off the Electric City Power settlement, Doyon did not receive a salary increase, but instead commissioner approved an additional 80 hours of vacation.