City manager extends contract, declines raise

Simon Husted

City Manager Dave Ruller extended his contract for two more years Wednesday, but without an increase in his salary.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, Ruller asked the council to remove a 2.5 percent pay raise to an item that would extend his contract with the city until 2015. The raise would’ve increased his annual salary from $113,359 to $116,193.

“I’m very grateful for that consideration, but I just wanted to say that in light of our current budget circumstances and the uncertainty, I’m going to respectfully ask that you remove that consideration,” Ruller told council members.

Everyone but Council Member Garret M. Ferrara of Ward 1 voted to “honor” Ruller’s request.

During discussion before the vote, Ferrara told council members that Ruller’s salary has increased below other employees on the city’s payroll. He said his research has shown that if the proposed pay raise failed, Ruller’s salary would’ve only increased by 19.3 percent since 2008 when city council hired him.

“Compare that to a new hire under an AFSCME contract,” Ferrara said. “Their salaries have increased 39.4 percent at the same time Dave was hired. Firemen have increased 57.23 percent and police have increased 59.35 percent.”

“I think he’s very much worth the 2.5 pay raise,” Ferrara said, adding that Ruller deserves credit for all of the downtown development.

Although every council member agreed that Ruller deserved a 2.5 percent raise, they consented with Ruller’s argument that balancing a budget after state cuts was a bigger priority.

“I want to commend him (Ruller) on putting the interests of a city ahead of the interests of a individual,” Council Member at-Large Robin Turner said before the vote.

Council Member Heidi Shaffer of Ward 5 said she wanted to “restore equity to this situation,” but agreed with Turner and other Council members in honoring Ruller’s request.

“At a later date, we will look to resolve these inequities,” Shaffer said.

Earlier this summer, City Council members and Mayor Jerry Fiala voted not to increase their part-time salaries after a salary review committee recommended that no salary increase take place.

Contact Simon Husted at [email protected]