ENCINITAS — Despite high performance praise, City Council did not approve a proposal for an 11 percent raise for City Manager Phil Cotton.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth relied on the city’s two-year fiscal budget in making her decision not to support the raise.
“I took my direction from the budgetary recommendations of the city manger,” Barth said. “That’s why I don’t support a pay raise at this time.”
In his executive summary, Cotton wrote that no cost of living increases would be approved for staff above the terms of current labor contracts.
He also noted the regional economic decline.
Councilman Jerome Stocks disagreed.
He noted that over the past three years city employees have received a total of 12 percent, while Cotton has not received a raise since May 2007. Cotton, the former head of the public works department, received a 20 percent pay raise just six months after his hire date in late 2006.
A survey revealed that based on salaries of other city managers in the area, Cotton’s salary is approximately 11 percent below the median. A proposed $21,859 increase in base salary would have brought Cotton’s total compensation to $242,640.
“Encinitas has more money in savings, in our reserve than we ever have before,” Stocks said. He was open to approving a smaller percentage increment.
Leucadia resident Tony Krantz said that the salaries used to compare were skewed. Cities — including Oceanside, National City and Carlsbad — that were on the list operate their own police departments, unlike Encinitas, which contracts with the county for services with the Sheriff’s Department.
The added responsibilities of managing additional departments should be taken into account, Deputy Mayor Maggie Houlihan said.
Councilman James Bond called Cotton’s performance “exemplary” but did not support a raise. Bond hinted that a salary increase for Cotton could come as early as 2011.