Local Politics

Raleigh to give city manager's raise second look

Posted May 20, 2009

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— Mayor Charles Meeker said Wednesday that the City Council might review City Manager Russell Allen's recent raise in light of a tight budget.

Two weeks ago, the council approved a 4.75 percent raise for Allen, from $210,000 to $220,000 a year, while extending his contract by a year, through the end of June 2011.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen City workers criticize manager's raise

On Tuesday, Allen submitted a $696.2 million budget proposal to the council for the 2009-10 year that caps merit raises for city workers at 4 percent and eliminates a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment.

"We're getting some push back because other employees are entitled to a 4 percent raise," Meeker said. "So, we'll look at that in the next week or two and see if we can't get everything to calm down."

Allen, who has served as city manager since 2001, declined to comment on his raise.

"I guess what people are thinking is that the manager should be treated like everyone else, and the council is hearing that comment and will make the right decision," Meeker said.

Some city employees said Allen should forgo his raise altogether.

"I have no idea why he took the raise," said Eddie Edgerton, president of Local 150 of the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, which represents more than 200 workers in various city departments.

"Instead of him accepting the raise, he should have shown solidarity with us – as workers with the city – to say, 'Hey, I'm on your side. We're all going to go through this together,'" Edgerton said.

Keith Wilder, president of the Raleigh Professional Firefighters Association, and Rick Armstrong, president of the Raleigh Police Protective Association, both said they think Allen is doing a good job as city manager. They both said, however, that their members are frustrated by his budget proposal.

In addition to cutting raises, the budget plan calls for raising health insurance premiums for workers and eliminating 85 vacant positions to eliminate a projected $20 million shortfall.

"(City workers) will not receive any merit adjustment (or) cost-of-living raise, and their insurance is going to go up. So, their check will be less next year than it is this year," Armstrong said. "I think there's a lot of frustration there."

"We recognize that Russell Allen is an asset to the city," Wilder said. "However, there are over 3,000 other city employees who have dedicated their life's work to making Raleigh a great place in which to work, live and invest."

Allen said that he's heard from a number of employees who are pleased with his proposal because he was able to avoid layoffs and furloughs.

"There's no question these are difficult choices, but I feel good about the budget," he said. "I tried to minimize the adverse impact to employees."

The City Council will debate the proposal next month before adopting a final budget.

27 Comments

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  • discowhale May 21, 2009

    FragmentFour,
    at least the City Manager worked his way up and he has worked for his paychecks. Mary Easley didn't do that, she just "appeared" at the pay window.

  • FragmentFour May 21, 2009

    So... a city manager can pull down $210,000 per year, but a licensed attorney and member of a state university can't be allowed $170,000?

    Ya'll are just backward!

  • discowhale May 21, 2009

    It must be terrible...scraping by on a mere $210,000 a year.

    Yet, the Raleigh voters will look around, and vote for the same crooks again!!! Good work voters. Another reason to move out of this City and County.

  • rubens100 May 21, 2009

    I have 28 years with the City of Raleigh and the last time I saw a 5% merit increase was in the early '80s! The City Manager was hired 8 years ago and his pay has doubled since then. I'm with James27613, save the City $120K by firing him & hiring a new one.

  • rmgirl May 21, 2009

    Ya think???

  • RonnieR May 21, 2009

    Southerns, K'dale is a Public Safety Department. The officers in the Division of Police are also Firefighters. Therefore, their salaries are in a class by their ownselves in Wake County, unless there another town that has a public safety department. AFAIK, NCSU (state agency) has the only other public safety department in Wake County. Wake County has one in name only, but it isn't a true public safety department. Durham had one many, many moons ago, but the only thing left from that is blue/red lights on their cars.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 21, 2009

    "The voters will remember all of this come election day."

    Unfortunately, voters have a short memory. That's why they do this stuff during non-election years.

    Also, Meeker keeps getting re-elected because nobody who's decent wants to run against him and open their live up for media scrutiny and smear campaigns from the Meeker election machine.

  • mochabrown May 21, 2009

    Then again, maybe that's why they increased the water bill, to fund this guy's salary. You know, I felt all along when the county, city talk about increasing rates, it's to fund their salaries. Trust me, if the funds were going where they claim it was needed, then there would not be a budget crisis. Monies was mishandled, misappropriated. All those higher uppers need to go.

  • SouthernLady05 May 21, 2009

    When his 4.75% increase was intially approved, some of the council members comments were "We need to keep his salary competitive with other city manager's salary's in cities of similar size." MY QUESTION is, why do they not use that same logic with the police department. Starting Salary at RPD is extremly low, and is lower than many if not all of the surrounding towns (Knightdale, Wendell, Wake Forest, Garner, Zebulon). LOOK at any other city of similar size, and the police officers get paid and extrodinary amount more than RPD officers. I'd like them to answer that for me.

  • mochabrown May 21, 2009

    Gracious, he is already making $210,000 and he can't live off that? He needs to live below his means.

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