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Lakewood City Council to OK new city manager’s contract

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on July 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm with 1 Comment »
July 1, 2013 4:33 pm

The four-month search for a new Lakewood city manager ends tonight when the City Council is poised to approve a contract with Mountlake Terrace City Manager John Caulfield to lead the daily operations of Pierce County’s second-largest city.

Caulfield starts work Sept. 3.

Mountlake Terrace City Manager John Caulfield
Mountlake Terrace City Manager John Caulfield

Caulfield would earn $165,000 to start, according to his proposed contract. Former city manager Andrew Neiditz earned $156,124 a year when he resigned in February, according to his most recent employment contract.

The new city manager also will receive $16,000 a year in deferred compensation. Neiditz’s deferred compensation was based on 11 percent of his current base salary, or $17,173 when he resigned.

Caulfield also will receive life insurance, medical and retirement benefits and receive at total of 36 paid days off a year for vacation and medical and management leave. In addition, he will receive a $500 a month car allowance.

Caulfield must relocate to Lakewood within six months of becoming city manager, and the city will make a one-time payment of $10,000 for moving expenses. He would be required to repay some of that money if he left Lakewood after less than three years of employment.

Here’s the draft contract:

Caulfield would receive six months of severage compensation if the council fires him or seeks his resignation. However, if Caulfield were fired for “just cause,” such as lying or being convicted of a crime “involving moral turpitude,” the city would only have to paid compensation and benefits accrued but unpaid at the time of the firing.

The council will review Caulfield’s performance after six months, 12 months and at least once annually after that.

The contract is contingent upon the completion of a background check, which may include a site visit to Mountlake Terrace.

Caulfield, 48, was the last person standing after a recruitment process that drew more than 30 people nationwide and extended interview requests to six finalists. Three finalists withdrew before the interviews, the council whittled the pool down to two after the interviews, and Wednesday’s withdrawal by Deputy Pierce County Executive Kevin Phelps left just Caulfield.

You’re invited to follow Christian Hill on Twitter @TNTchill

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. AnotherThought says:

    City managers matter. They can make or break the city. I am all for paying salaries at a level necessary to recruit and retain quality leaders. But is this level truly needed?

    $165,000. Plus $6000 for a car allowance. Plus $16,000 in employer 401-K contributions. Plus six months pay if terminated. Plus dues to rotary and a few other organizations. Plus a total of seven weeks of leave (including medical). Plus $10,000 to relocate. Plus 401-K contributions in lieu of OASI.

    Lakewood probably has less than 350 employees. Compare that rate of pay to the state corrections secretary (lower pay, less benefits, 10 times as many employees). Or the Gov’ Chief of Staff. Or the Governor (or AG). Close to the salary for the Pierce county executive — an organization probably 10 times as large.

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