Opting to forego a 4.5-percent raise “wasn’t that difficult of a decision, quite frankly,” City Manager Kurt Starman said Wednesday, a day after the City Council met behind closed doors for an annual evaluation of his performance.
Starman said the salary increase was called for in the employment contract he agreed to in 2006, when he accepted the city manager position. The economy, however, was far rosier eight years ago.
“I told the council, prior to my evaluation, that (the raise) didn’t feel comfortable to me and I volunteered to unilaterally waive that increase,” Starman said. “The council, to a person, gave me a positive evaluation but I, for my own reasons, to reflect the current status of the economy, waived the increase scheduled for May of 2014.”
“The city has been very fair to me,” said Starman, whose career with Redding began in 1991 as the budget services officer. “I love this city; I grew up here. I have roots. It’s my honor and privilege to serve as city manager of Redding.”
Starman was paid $207,167 in 2013, with assorted benefits bringing his total compensation to a reported $303,811. He deferred pay raises in 2011 and 2012 and has been subject to City Hall’s “furlough Fridays” program since 2011.
In other action at its Tuesday night meeting, the council:
— Issued proclamations to and honored Redding Fire Capt. Michael Blair and Redding police officer Jason Rhoads for their selections as the Redding Exchange Club’s 2013 firefighter and police officer of the year.
— Voted 5-0 to accept $139,000 from the Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee. The money is provided by the Redding Rancheria under a state agreement to help mitigate the effects of casinos on communities.
The council followed the Local Community Benefit Committee recommendations to distribute $40,000 for financial crimes investigations by Redding police; $50,000 to develop a heavy equipment training facility at Fire Station No. 6; and $49,000 for bikeway and pedestrian path designs on the Highway 273 corridor between south Redding and Win-River Casino.
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.