PORTLAND, Maine — The City Council on Monday is expected to approve a 12 percent raise for City Manager Jon Jennings that will bring his annual salary up to $166,500.
If the nearly $18,500 raise is approved, Jennings’ salary — already the largest of any municipal manager in the state and nearly twice what Gov. Paul LePage earns — will be more than $30,000 ahead of the Bangor city manager, who earns just over $131,000 and is the next highest paid city head, according to a list of salaries compiled by the city.
Jennings’ compensation will continue to include a health benefits package, a $500-per-month vehicle allowance, a retirement plan and an additional annual retirement contribution of 12 percent of his salary, which will be worth nearly $20,000 after the increase. The raise would be retroactive as of July 13, the first anniversary of Jennings’ hiring. He is halfway through his three-year contract.
The proposed raise comes after a confidential performance review with the city councilors on Dec. 2 and signals a vote of confidence in Jennings following a year of conflict between the manager and Mayor Ethan Strimling, who has been trying to seize greater power in City Hall. The squabble reportedly cost Portland taxpayers $21,000 in legal fees.
The 12 percent raise is six times more than the pay bump the City Council approved earlier this month for the 500 workers who belong to the City Employee Benefits Association, Portland’s largest union of city workers.
Jennings now earns just over $148,000, about the same amount as Portland’s Superintendent of Schools and roughly 3 percent more than the deputy city manager, according to Portland Human Resources Director Gina Tapp.
With nearly 67,000 residents, Portland is Maine’s largest city and the greater metro area represented more than half the state’s economy, as of 2012. The city says it has more than 1,400 employees and a budget of about $236 million. Just based on size and scope, the Portland job is unique among Maine city managers, Tapp said.
“It also has the added municipal operations of a long-term care facility and an international jetport,” Tapp wrote in a memo to council, recommending the raise for her boss.
In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where the population is roughly 21,000, the city manager earns $163,800, plus a $5,000 annual bonus.
The proposed raise is composed of a 2 percent cost-of-living-adjustment, standard for non-union city employees, a 5 percent “market increase” recommended by human resources, and a 5 percent merit increase.
On Monday, the City Council will also vote on an amendment to city code requiring tipped workers be paid a minimum of $5 per hour.