PT city manager gets a pay raise

Increase first since he was hired in ’19

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro.

Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro.

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council has voted unanimously to raise the salary of City Manager John Mauro by 10 percent to $189,297 annually.

The council last Monday evening also added retention incentives into the renewed contract.

Mauro had not received a performance-based increase since coming to work for the city in 2019, despite receiving positive performance reviews in both 2020 and 2021, according to meeting documents.

Mayor David Faber noted that Mauro’s contract included a clause stating the city “shall” increase the city manager’s salary dependent upon a performance review.

Faber said he failed to raise the issue of a salary increase during the review process earlier this year.

Council members voted to increase Mauro’s salary as well as add a one-time retention bonus of $12,500.

The retention bonus was included to make up for the lack of increases in past years, Faber said, but it would have to be repaid in full were Mauro to leave the city before his contract ended.

“He gets the missing pay, we get a commitment out of it,” Faber said.

The new contract approved by the council also increases the annual vehicle allowance from $5,400 to $6,600 and extends the amount of severance pay from six months to 12 months.

Faber said the city had received public comment questioning the amount of the manager’s salary, but the mayor and other council members said the city was paying its manager less than other municipalities in the area.

“Right now inflation is running at 7 percentish plus. This is really a 5 percent-a-year raise that we didn’t do for the first two years,” said Council Member Libby Urner Wennstrom, who said financial uncertainty during the pandemic influenced that decision.

“So I think this is really a corrective action that’s really in line with sort of basic performance increase,” Wennstrom said.

Faber said the increase in Mauro’s salary would make him the fourth-highest-paid public executive in the county behind Jefferson Healthcare CEO Mike Glenn, whose annual salary is $300,000; Port of Port Townsend Executive Director Eron Berg at $196,684 and Jefferson County Public Utilities District General Manager Kevin Streett at $191,546.

City managers in other area municipalities, including Kirkland, Olympia and Bainbridge Island, were all making over $200,000 a year, Faber said.

“It is an employees’ market, I guarantee you he could get other offers,” Faber said. “If we were to try and hire someone else, we would have to jack up our salary even more than this. Guaranteed.”

No public comment on the raise was given during the meeting, but letters were submitted questioning the pay increase.

“You are giving your CEO more than three times what the rest of staff might get,” Charlotte Smith wrote in an email submitted to the council.

“I understand that Mr. Mauro has faced some unique situations in his tenure as city manager, but he dealt with those with the help and assistance of all the city staff. Is he more deserving than the rest of the staff?”

Council members voiced emphatic support for Mauro and said he managed the city well during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council member Monica MickHager cited Mauro’s management of the city and its budget during the pandemic and his efforts to work with other local governments in the area.

“This is well worth doing,” MickHager said. “I wish we could offer him more.”

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at psegall@soundpublishing.com.

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