Here's something you don't see every day — a city manager who takes a pay cut so that two other city executives can get pay raises. That's what happened in San Leandro, Calif., according to The Daily Review, as city manager Chris Zapata took a $20,000 yearly pay cut to provide raises for the city's police chief and assistant city manager.
Zapata took the pay cut for two years to give $10,000 raises each year to the police chief and assistant city manager. "We have two extremely talented and marketable managers," Zapata told the City Council, according to the Daily Review. "They are vital to the management team."
Zapata said he feared that the police chief and assistant city manager would be lured away to other California cities, noting that there were vacancies for those jobs in San Jose, Fremont and Alameda. San Leandro has already experienced significant management turnover. Zapata is the city's fourth city manager since 2009 and both the community development manager and deputy city manager recently left for other jobs.
In return for the pay raises, the police chief and assistant city manager will commit to five-year contracts. Zapata's pay cut will cover the expenses for two years, with the money coming out of the general fund after that.
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The council approved Zapata's plan by a 5-2 vote. The dissenting council members said the management raises send the wrong message while the city is in contract talks with rank and file city workers.
Zapata's action, though unusual, is not unprecedented. In October, Peekskill, N.Y., acting city manager Brian Havranek proposed cutting his own job as part of a plan to help close the city's budget gap. And last March, Keller, Texas city manager Dan O'Leary, saying the city's administration was top-heavy, resigned so that his two assistant managers could keep their jobs.