Contract for city manager approved

Michelle Park

During a special council meeting last night, Kent City Council authorized its director of law and its director of budget and finance to finalize a contract of employment with Dave Ruller, Council’s first choice for the city manager position. The contract is scheduled to begin on June 15 and will include two automatic one-year renewals.

The contract sets a $95,000 annual salary for Ruller. In addition, it dictates that $4,750 be placed into Ruller’s retirement account every year.

Under the contract, Ruller would also receive an automobile allowance of $300 per month. The city will pay for Ruller’s travel expenses in his professional and official travels, meetings and occasions related to his position.

Councilman Wayne Wilson said he did not know when Ruller will sign the contract, but he noted that a ceremonial signing would take place when Ruller arrives in Kent to shop for a house. When Ruller and his family come to find a house depends on Ruller’s schedule, but Council has approved paying the travel, lodging and meal expenses of the trip. Council will also pay Ruller’s moving expenses.

When he comes to shop for a house, Ruller will not be shopping with the city’s funds. A housing allowance is not included in the contract, Wilson said, although he acknowledged that such allowances may be popular in other cities.

Housing allowances typically are not offered in Kent, said Kent Law Director James Silver.

“You see (housing allowances) with ministers a lot, but not so much with city managers,” he said.

Under the contract, Ruller will be responsible for working no fewer than 40 hours per week. The city will pay the full cost of providing Ruller with the present group disability, health, life, medical and dental insurance coverage it purchases for other city employees.

Silver said his contract negotiations with Ruller took a “couple hours.” In drawing up the contract Council approved last night, Silver and Ruller followed a model contract provided by the City Manager’s Association. Additional parts specific to Ruller’s employment were added as needed.

Contact public affairs reporter Michelle Park at [email protected].