A proposed contract with new Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher shows his annual compensation package is worth about $50,000 less than his predecessor's.
The contract is scheduled to be considered by the city council at Wednesday's meeting.
Zuercher's predecessor, David Cavazos -- who left Phoenix to take the city manager's post in Santa Ana, California -- took heat for both a hefty pay raise and the so-called pension spiking in recent years.
A couple years ago, the city council approved raising Cavazos' salary from $237,000 to $315,000 a year. Cavazos' unused sick days, vacation days, and other non-salary payments also went toward his pension. Since Cavazos' annual salary was the highest in the city, the "spiking" of the pension raised some eyebrows, as his pension payment was based on his total compensation, which went a little past $400,000.
If the council approves Zuercher's contract, he'd make the same base salary as Cavazos, at $315,000.
The rest of the compensation package, however, wouldn't apply to his pension. The rest of that package is also worth less than Cavazos'. Including his salary, Cavazos could have made as much as $401,788 per year, while the Zuercher proposal is worth about $351,660, including things like transportation and phone payments:
See the image below for a comparison:
The proposed contract still would allow Zuercher to cash out 20 percent of his unused sick days. Cavazos was able to cash out 60 percent, and that applied toward his pension payment.
While the $315,000 still might seem high -- it's more than what 99 percent of the rest of us make -- it's really not that high, in comparison to other cities. Dallas just approved $400,000 for its new city manager, and even in Scottsdale, which has a population about 15 percent of Phoenix's, the city manager makes more than $200,000 a year.
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All of the details on the proposed contract can be found here, starting on page 10.
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