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City Manager takes $73,000 salary reduction

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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City Council authorized a salary reduction Tuesday night for City Manager Jim Estep totaling $73,000 but he will still make $197,892 a year. “The city manager came forward with an offer to give possible concessions he could make as early as last fall and I think it’s important we note that,” Mayor Paul Joiner said. “With no signs likely for there to be revenue increases, it’s imperative the city continue to make dramatic cuts to salaries, benefits and a number of employees.” The salary concessions Estep agreed to included elimination of his redevelopment agency salary, which totals $8,400 a year, elimination of his car allowance and he will “pay his entire employee contribution to Social Security,” according to Joiner. Estep will also no longer be reimbursed for his cell phone use, no cash-out option for vacation and administrative leave, a reduction in administrative leave days from 15 to 10, and his city base salary will be reduced by 8 percent, according to Joiner. Estep’s base salary will drop to $197,892 effective July 30, 2011, according to his amendment to agreement for employment. His current base salary is $215,000 a year, plus the $8,400 received for his role as executive director of the redevelopment agency, according to public information officer Jill Thompson. City Council members thanked Estep before they unanimously approved the salary reduction. “My thanks to you for taking those very difficult issues and working through them in a manner where you have taken a lot of flak and you don’t deserve it at all,” Councilman Tom Cosgrove said. “I also appreciate the changes to your agreement that you brought forward. I realize it doesn’t change the roughly $1 million to $1.5 million structural deficit, it does little to contribute to that, but it does demonstrate leadership.” Councilman Spencer Short pointed out that out of Estep’s concessions, “really only applied $14,000 to the General Fund.” “Jim (Estep) has given us great service and great value, and I think this is a huge step because he realizes the city is hurting,” Short said. “Jim, again thank you, and I appreciate this greatly.”