Commissioners discuss increasing city manager’s salary
City Commissioners held a special meeting on Sept. 7 to discuss the salary for City Manager Greg Doyon.
In February, commissioners gave Doyon a favorable review during a closed session but held off on a merit increase until the budget process, to see where the city was financially as the pandemic continued.
No changes were made to his contract, which runs through March 24, 2023.
The contract that was renewed in March 2020, includes a base salary of $161,500.
The contract also includes $450 monthly car allowance and 30 days vacation, according to Mayor Bob Kelly.
During the Sept. 7 meeting, Kelly said he wanted increase Doyon’s salary to $165,000 retroactive to February.
Commissioner Owen Robinson said, “I think that’s low,” and Commissioner Tracy Houck suggested increasing his salary by five percent.
“Greg would be a heck of a hard person to replace,” Robinson said.
Commissioner Mary Moe said they should keep up with market adjustments to be able to make incremental changes versus having to make a big increase to stay competitive with other markets.
Commissioner Rick Tryon said he was okay with $165,000 and wanted commissioners to be cognizant of the economic impact of COVID-19 in the community.
“I think Greg is worth his weight in bitcoin, or gold, or whatever you want to use,” Tryon said.
Kelly then suggested raising Doyon’s salary to $166,000, but Moe said she didn’t think they could vote on it since that amount wasn’t specifically included in the meeting agenda.
Commissioners will vote on the new salary at a future public meeting.
Gaye McInerney, city human resources director, said that she had looked at compensation packages for Doyon’s counterparts in other Montana cities and are:
- Billings: $194,584 per year on a two-year contract
- Bozeman: $193,000 with $2,000 monthly supplement on a two-year contract
- Kalispell: $139,568 on two-year contract
- Helena: recently hired a new city manager at $170,000 on a two-year contract
- Missoula: different form of government, but their chief administrative officer makes $155,000
- Butte: different form of government with an elected chief who makes $115,000.
McInerney said that each city has different benefit packages.
Doyon has been the city manager since 2008.
His base salary in the previous contract was $149,348 and in 2019, commissioners increased his salary by four percent of the base, which was about $5,973.
The new contract deletes cost of living increases as approved for city employees.
In 2019, commissioners voted 5-0 to extend Doyon’s contract for a year and indicated that they wanted to renew his contract when it expired in March 2020.
The city operates under a commission-manager form of government. Every 10 years, the voters are asked if they want to study/change their form of government. The question was last on the ballot in 2014 and voters rejected the study, keeping the form of government in place.
The city manager serves as the chief executive officer of the city and is responsible for the management of city operations. The city manager functions include:
- implement policy decisions and legislative actions taken by the city commission
- make recommendations to the city commission
- oversee the operations of the city
- oversee preparation of the city budget
- recruit, hire and supervise city staff.
In January 2008, the commission approved the employment agreement with Doyon.
When the city began the search for a city manager, they had 50 applicants that were narrowed to 16 with the help of a consultant. The commission narrowed the field to six. One candidate withdrew and one was sick at interview time, according to city minutes. Of the four who were interviewed, the commission at the time said Doyon was the best candidate.
Commissioner Bill Beecher said in January 2008 that “Doyon would bring enthusiasm and good ideas to our city and the commission was excited to have him,” according to the minutes.
There was no public comment at the time and the commission voted 5-0 to approve the contract in 2008.
Doyon’s contract was renewed again in 2017, for a three-year term, but the annual reviews continue.
In December 2018, Doyon interviewed for and was offered the city administrator position in Billings, but ultimately declined the position.
The commission voted 5-0 in 2018 to increase Doyon’s salary by three percent and allowing a three percent cost of living adjustment, for a roughly $8,000 increase to his pay.
In March 2017, commissioners gave Doyon a favorable review and renewed his contract for three years with a three percent salary increase, which equated 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.