Mesa City Manager Chris Brady is earning praise from his bosses on the City Council after a year on the job, but those kind words didn’t equal much of a boost to his $187,500 annual salary.
The council and Brady recently completed a series of closed-door sessions centered on Brady’s performance as the city’s top employee.
The council has taken no official action based on those discussions, but Mesa officials said Brady will receive a standard 2-percent increase to his salary, a $500 increase in a city contribution to a supplemental retirement account and more hours to be used as time off in the coming year.
Brady, apparently, didn’t ask for a fatter contract. His has been in place since January 2006 amid turbulent budget times for the city.
“It would be very normal in a year that he has had to ask for a significant amount of money,” said Vice Mayor Claudia Walters.
Brady’s adjusted salary next year would be $191,250, a $3,750 increase.
Brady’s contract is more than 10 percent higher than the $169,436 annual salary earned by former City Manager Mike Hutchinson, a longtime city employee who earned nearly a $17,000 annual bonus based on his years of service.
Brady stepped into his position during tough financial times for Mesa.
Six months after he started, the city faced more than $10 million in budget cuts that led to reduced library hours, canceled community events and trimmed city staff.
Despite the challenges, Brady, who came to Mesa from San Antonio, was credited by the council for starting to reform a city organization that has been criticized as insular, bureaucratic and rigid.
The perks to his retirement account adds $500 to the $15,000 annually the city already contributes to a supplemental retirement account, separate from the Arizona State Retirement System. Brady also will receive more personal time off this year.
The idea was to provide benefits in other ways than to increase his salary. The city hopes added retirement perks and extra days off will convince Brady to stay, Councilman Rex Griswold said.
“He’s always there in the morning and always there in the evening,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things we want to correct.”
Some of Brady’s proposals since coming to the city have drawn criticism. Brady has suggested Mesa sell or radically reorganize its utility department.
He also reorganized the city’s upper management and rank-and-file employees and created a policy where new employees and those who changed positions with the city have an at-will work relationship, as opposed to the civil service arrangement that protects most other public employees.