The third of a million-dollar man

Council gives new city manager $336,500 in annual salary and benefits

By Andre Coleman , Joe Piasecki 09/25/2008

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Being city manager of Pasadena is a pretty sweet — and lucrative — gig.

On Monday, City Council members unanimously approved an agreement that will give newly hired City Manager Michael Beck, whose first official day on the job is Wednesday, an unprecedented annual salary and benefits package valued at $336,500.

Of that amount, $265,000 is salary, which at the council’s discretion could jump to $284,000 after a performance review in March.

If Beck — who on Tuesday was apparently still working out of his office in Riverside, where he received $200,000 per year as assistant city manager, and was unavailable for comment — sticks around Pasadena through September 2010, he becomes eligible for lump sum annual bonuses, also at the council’s discretion.

Mayor Bill Bogaard explained that a shortage of qualified city managers allows highly skilled candidates to demand top dollar. Beck, 43, is starting out well above where former City Manager Cynthia Kurtz left off last year with her annual salary a few dollars below $236,000.

“I don’t want to say that city manager is a dying profession, but young people aren’t moving into the field as strongly as into other fields. While we were blessed in Pasadena with a pool of 60 candidates, the good city managers who are practicing today are able to command very strong salaries. It’s a supply-and-demand question,” said Bogaard.

Myriad perks and benefits are also part of Beck’s contract, in the works for months behind the scenes but finally approved Monday without a word of discussion as a council consent calendar item.
In addition to providing health and dental insurance, the city will put aside $1,000 per month to be used by Beck for health care or kept in a deferred compensation account. Beck will also receive long-term disability insurance, a life insurance policy worth about $500,000 and an annual medical exam at city expense.

And talk about time off: Beck will get 184 hours (about four-and-a-half weeks) of vacation time and 80 hours (10 days) of sick leave each year.

The city will also pay Beck a $500 monthly vehicle allowance, buy him a cellular phone and cover all expenses related to professional development — course fees, travel costs, seminar expenses and subscriptions.

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