Council To Approve City Manager Raise

More than four months after it took effect, the Olympia City Council will officially approve an  $8,050 yearly salary increase for City Manager Jay Burney.

The council had failed to vote to approve the raise after discussing his performance evaluation on January 11. State law requires that approval of such increases take place in an open public meeting, which in this case will be Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Burney’s salary is now $205,000. The amendment to his employment contract for approval makes the pay raise retroactive to January 1, 2022, when he began receiving it.

Until the council agenda was published last week, the criteria for the increase were not made public. State law allows performance reviews to be done in executive sessions closed to the public.

“The Council has determined that the performance of the City Manager through extraordinary times of the COVID‐19 pandemic, social unrest due to demands for public safety reform following the killing of George Floyd, and ongoing demands upon the City due to homelessness, amid a myriad number of ongoing issues for delivery of municipal services to the residents of the City, has been superlative and should be recognized,” a resolution and the amendment said.

The council also granted him five days of paid annual administrative leave (40 hours) and sick leave, vacation, and other paid leave. Neither document explains why that leave was granted or how it can be used.

His last pay increase, of $1,950 per year, was in mid-May of 2021, which brought his salary to $196,950. The council appointed him as city manager in May 2020 at a salary of $195,000. He’d spent the previous 10 years as assistant city manager. 

Olympia has a council/manager form of government, which means it delegates day-to-day authority for city operations to Burney. 

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By Mindy Chambers

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