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City manager gets pay hike, but must pay for retirement

Changes amount to net decrease in compensation

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Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:33 am

When does a raise result in a cut in your paycheck? When your employer simultaneously raises the cost of your retirement package.

The Half Moon Bay City Council gave City Manager Laura Snideman a raise on June 19, but she won’t be feeling any windfall because she will soon be contributing to her own retirement. The city made the same deal — a 1.5 percent raise while withholding 2 percent of the employee’s contribution to retirement   — with about 15 full-time employees.

The deal was negotiated with other employees earlier this year, but not approved for the city manager until after a closed session meeting following the regular meeting that night.

All city employees, including the city manager, will pay a total of 5 percent of the employee portion of retirement benefits beginning with the 2013-2014 fiscal year, according to the city’s public relations firm, Barbary Coast Consulting.

The effect is a net decrease in compensation, said Mayor Allan Alifano.

Snideman joined the city in December 2009 as an administrative officer. She was appointed city manager a year later. She earned a salary of $180,000 a year in the fiscal year ending June 30, and her pay increases to $182,700 in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

“This came from Laura,” Alifano said, in reference to what amounts to a drop in her total compensation. “She felt that she should feel some of the pain along with her staff. We all felt that it was a noble thing to do.”

Tuesday’s action concluded a lengthy performance evaluation, Alifano said. In recent weeks, a consultant interviewed council members individually, then Alifano and Councilman Rick Kowalcyzk talked over results with Snideman.

“Overall, Laura is exceeding our expectations,” Alifano said. “Her dedication and willingness to stay as long as it takes (is admirable).”

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