Nevada City may raise pay for its officials
Numerous Nevada City employees, including the police chief, city manager and fire captain, could get significant pay hikes during the next three years.
City officials cited a need to keep the salaries competitive with some neighboring cities ” though comparisons are difficult by the city’s own admission.
The city can’t pinpoint exactly how much the move will boost the city’s pension liability, but the benefit formula is factored into any increase, said City Manager Mark Miller.
Some of the employees are nearing retirement age and already are drawing pensions from previous public work experience ” known as “double dipping.”
Possible 7- to 11-percent raises this year could start the process, Miller said. All raises would be merit-based, he added.
Salaries ranging from 23 percent to 38 percent below market value include: police chief, public works director, city manager and fire captain positions, Miller said.
Police Chief Lou Trovato’s salary is one-third below the market value, according to Miller.
The increases might not sit well with some residents because of recent controversies in city government.
The police force has been criticized for not cracking down enough on loitering and panhandling in downtown and in city parks. Trovato has argued he needs more police personnel.
Last month, a Nevada County grand jury report blasted Nevada City leaders for a revenue shortfall because of its bill collection practices.
The report said city officials were “asleep at the wheel.”
The city has made strides collecting more than “hundreds of thousands” fees in recent months, Miller said.
“The performance of our employees has been exceptional,” according to Miller.
City officials collected 2006 salary information from Grass Valley, Jackson, Sonora, Placerville, Auburn, Nevada County, Oroville, Colfax and Marysville for the comparison.
Finding comparable governments isn’t easy, Miller said. The other cities typically are larger than Nevada City.
“We’re about as small of a full-service city as there is,” Miller said.
To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4234.
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