The Portland City Council on Monday night gave first reading to a contract extension for City Manager Mark Rees, taking the first step toward pushing the pact out until July 20, 2015, and bumping his salary from about $145,000 to $146,600 — or an increase of a little more than 1 percent.
The council will have to vote after the second reading at an upcoming meeting to make the extension official.
It hasn’t been long since the council last approved a pay hike for the city manager. In October, they gave Rees a 1 percent raise retroactive to the previous July 1. In fact, the council has increased the city manager’s salary in every calendar year since he was hired in 2011, bumping his pay up 1.5 percent in late 2012.
Such annual raises are not unusual for folks in government leadership positions, and in fact Rees has been lauded by city councilors for accepting relatively minimal increases, which some have said sets the tone for city negotiations with other employees and unions.
It’s hard for a city manager to convincingly hold a hard line on pay increases for others when he’s getting big pay bumps himself, the theory goes.
Rees was hired and given a three-year contract in 2011, with an initial salary of $143,000.
He replaced longtime city employee Joe Gray, who joined the city as a planner in 1969 and spent his last decade at City Hall in the top administrator post, according to our media partners over at Portland NBC affiliate WCSH 6.