Estep’s salary reduction explained

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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A breakdown by dollar amount of City Manager Jim Estep’s salary and benefit concessions totaling $74,549 is now available, due to the request of one Lincoln resident. The document was released Tuesday morning after resident Richard Mackirdy sent a Public Records Act requesting it on April 7 and was told “there are no documents responsive to your request” by city clerk Pat Avila on Friday. Mackirdy asked for “the document, which calculates and shows the amount of each of the reduction items comprising the total reduction.” The News Messenger asked Estep about Mackirdy’s request on Monday morning. “I am going to try to give him something that answers his questions but it does not exist right now, not the way he has asked for it,” Estep said. “We have to pull information from the payroll document to create it the way he is asking. Our system is incapable of printing out a report the way he would like to see it.” Estep said he would “be happy to get him the numbers in the way he would understand.” The document released Tuesday morning is titled “Jim Estep Salary Reduction” and shows an immediate annual reduction of $42,319 and a reduction this coming July of $32,230. Combined, Estep’s salary and benefits reduction is $74,549, not the $73,000 reported at the April 5 special City Council meeting. Estep took a base pay reduction of 8 percent, or $17,208, which is a reduction from $215,100 to $197,892. Estep said he took the concessions to “balance the budget.” “The city is in dire financial straits here and that’s the absolute most I can do,” Estep said. “It was the best I could do. Even if it’s only $15,000 back to the General Fund, at least it’s $15,000.” The News Messenger asked Mackirdy why he requested the information. “I think they (city officials) should be open in disclosing that and not assuming the public understands,” Mackirdy said. “When they put out numbers, they need to say, here’s how we are arriving at those numbers.”