DALLAS — The Dallas City Council approved Interim City Manager Gene Green’s contract starting July 1, but his pay will increase as of May 24, a month sooner than City Manager Greg Ellis’ retirement.
The contract was approved on a 6-2 vote, with some on the council concerned for the precedent set by increasing the pay before Ellis leaves.
Ellis said Green has and will attend many meetings and do work to prepare for taking over the interim city manager position. Green will remain the interim public works director while he serves in the city manager role. He is paid $9,361 per month as the interim public works director.
“Gene will be transitioning during the month of June and working with staff involved in the unprecedented amount of public works projects that are scheduled to begin this summer,” Ellis wrote in a memo to the council. “His pay should reflect that transition, as well as the fact that he will start attending many night meetings and will still be performing the duties of public works director. His pay of $12,240 per month should begin at the beginning of the final pay period of the fiscal year, which is May 24, 2019.”
Ellis added that Green is an Oregon Public Employee Retirement System retiree, meaning the city doesn’t contribute to PERS on his behalf. Green also doesn’t have health insurance through the city. Ellis said that has saved the city $39,149 in the 12 months he’s served as interim public works director. Once Green is bumped up to $12,240 for city manager, the savings to the city will be $4,539 per month, Ellis said, bringing the city’s savings to $43,688 through June.
Councilor Kelly Gabliks said she disagreed with the early increase, believing he should receive the pay for city manager when he officially takes over. She said department heads often attend meetings outside regular work hours.
“Gene, I’m very sorry. I think it sets a very bad precedent. He’s not the city manager. I respect that he’s going to have to go to some additional meetings to get ready, but he’s an exempt employee. … You go to extra meetings. There’s things you have to do to get ready to go,” Gabliks said. “I appreciate that we’ve saved money … but to me that’s more money that we have to go to the roads and stuff. Just because we save money doesn’t mean we need to spend it.”
Gabliks made a motion to change the pay start date in the contract to July 1, the day after Ellis retires.
Ellis noted that without the May 24 start date, Green would not take the job.
Green, who was in the audience at the June 3 meeting, confirmed that.
“That’s correct,” he said.
Council President Jennie Rummell said Green needs to be paid for his prep work.
“I think that we can’t expect him to come in and attend meetings and gather all the information he needs without being paid,” Rummell said. “We can’t expect someone to attend meetings and work without pay.”
Ellis said the council should remember how much money the city has saved by hiring a PERS retiree.
“It’s about $43,000 that has been saved over the last 12 months. I’m asking for $2,800,” Ellis said.
Gabliks’ motion failed 5-3, with Gabliks, and councilors Paul Trahan and Ken Woods Jr., voting for it.
Green’s contract was approved on a subsequent vote 6-2, with Gabliks and Woods voting no.
The vote amended Green’s contract with the city to serve as interim public works director, dated June 4, 2018, adding city manager duties and increasing his pay. Once a permanent city manager begins work, the contract will revert to the June 4, 2018, contract.