In May 2014, the City of Nevada City agreed to pay Mark Prestwich a base pay of $97,500 per year to be City Manager. Mark’s experience — including an eight-year stint as special projects manager/assistant to city manager in Sacramento and six years as assistant to the city manager in Napa, among other positions — is HERE.
Last week, the city agreed to pay interim city manager, Catrina Olson, a base pay of $115,000 per year to be City Manager — an 18 percent increase over what Prestwich was offered four years earlier despite a period of low inflation (details HERE). Olson joined Nevada City in 2007 as finance manager and has since been promoted to other positions including assistant city manager (as of October 2013).
I sent an email to the staff and Council asking that the latest contract be pulled from the consent agenda and discussed in public — a reasonable request given the circumstances.
That didn’t happen (City Attorney Hal DeGraw apologized for an error in the staff memo that I pointed out, but that was it), and the contract was approved without discussion.
It’s too late for public discussion, but I filed an FOI request to learn the rationale for setting the salary, as well as why other salaries were no longer on the website. Here’s what I got (including my misspelled last name):
“Dear Jeff Peline (sic),
In response to your items requested:
1) Request for public records that describe the rationale for the base pay of the current City Manager: There is no such document summarizing the rationale and the Public Records Act does not require the City to create a record that does not exist at the time of the request. However, all of the documents considered by the Council in deciding upon the City Manager compensation, consisting of a comparison agreement document will be made available for your inspection. A copy of the documentation used by Council during the contract negotiations will be available to you at City Hall (Will call).
2) Request for a list of the base pay for the City Manager, City Attorney, City Planner, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Public Works Director, City Engineer and Parks and Recreation Supervisor: Staff salary information was formerly on the City website, but was taken down July 25, 2018, for updating. The information was put back up on the City website on July 27, 2018, after council approval of new MOU agreements and can be accessed at https://www.nevadacityca.gov/pview.aspx?id=20821&catid=564. The only position for which you requested base pay that is not listed on the City website is that of City Attorney, a contract position, and a copy of the City’s agreement with Jones & Mayer for legal services will be made available for your inspection. The following links display all the current positions as well as the contracts.
https://www.nevadacityca.gov/pview.aspx?id=20813&catid=564 – This will take you to all the City Labor agreements except for the Police Chief and City Manager
https://www.nevadacityca.gov/pview.aspx?id=20821&catid=564 – This has a summary sheet of all current positions within the City. We do not currently have a Public Works Director.
Per your request , this information can be made available for your inspection at City Hall, 317 Broad St., Nevada City, CA 95959, any time after 7/31/18 during normal business hours of 9:00 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 5:00 if you call me in advance at 265-2496 x 134. There will be no charge for this inspection unless you want copies, in which case the charge will be $0.25/page.”
City of Nevada City
Administrative Services Manager”
A follow-up email added: “The original City Manager job recruitment flyer stated the pay as $115,000. That is what was agreed upon prior to any appointments by Council, and that is considered on the lower side of wages for the position.”
Thanks, but I still don’t know the rationale for setting salaries (including an 18 percent increase that far outpaced the recent inflation rate) — and neither do other residents.
I’ll post what I learn when I get a chance to review the “comparison agreement document” (whatever that turns out to be) when I get a chance next week.