Top official’s second raise could be on horizon

City Administrator Tom Haglund told the council Monday night "to

Does Gilroy’s City Administrator deserve a pay raise? It’s a
question that three Gilroy City Councilmen will answer.
Does Gilroy’s City Administrator deserve a pay raise?

It’s a question that three Gilroy City Councilmen will answer.

A committee comprised of Mayor Al Pinheiro and Councilmen Perry Woodward and Peter Leroe-Munoz are expected to meet in roughly a month to decide whether they will recommend to their fellow Council members a pay raise for Haglund, whom the city hired from the City of Hanford in 2008 and several Council members credit with helping Gilroy wade through a dreary economic climate.

“A lot of the reason why we’re fiscally strong is because of Tom,” Councilwoman Cat Tucker said.

Haglund, 47, is already the highest paid city employee, according to city salary records. He will make $214,950 in base salary this fiscal year, which began July 1, including a $6,000 car allowance, according to City Finance Director Christina Turner.

By comparison, Gilroy Fire Department Chief Dale Foster makes approximately $173,000 annually, while Gilroy Police Department Chief Denise Turner pulls in about $169,000, according to salary records.

Morgan Hill City Manager Ed Tewes makes approximately $185,000 for Gilroy’s 38,000-population neighbor. In Cupertino, a city of 58,000, City Manager Dave Knapp’s salary is about $228,000, according to the city’s salary schedule.

Gilroy’s population is 48,821, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Haglund made just over $195,000 last year because he lost roughly $19,000 due to furloughs, which are no longer in effect, Turner said.

The amount of a potential raise is up to the committee. Pinheiro said the committee should meet around the first week of September.

The Council conducted a closed-session evaluation of Haglund following its June 6 regular meeting, according to city records. But any discussions involving finances – including pay raises – would have to occur in public session, Pinheiro said.

He said the committee would produce “an overall view” of Haglund’s performance, which hypothetically could include calling for a pay raise.

“We have subcommittees that will make a recommendation to the council,” Pinheiro said. “We will meet and make that recommendation public.”

If the Council does approve a pay raise for its top official, it wouldn’t be the first time.

The Council voted 4-3 in October 2009 to give Haglund a $9,950 raise, bumping him up to his current salary.

Woodward and Councilmen Bob Dillon and Craig Gartman were against the raise, while Tucker, Pinheiro, and Councilmen Dion Bracco and Peter Arellano voted in favor of it.

The Council froze annual merit raises for all employees in March 2009 after approving the elimination of 48 full-time and part-time positions, along with 23 vacant positions, in an attempt to remedy a $4.7 million deficit. But three months later the Council approved contracts with the city’s five bargaining units – which didn’t include Haglund because he was one of only two Council appointed employees – and those contracts restored merit raises for the unions in the 2008-09 fiscal year. Haglund’s raise came on the heels of a yearly performance evaluation that occurred in May.

“The rest of our employees got a merit increase, so I think it’s only fair to grant it for the two employees who work directly for us and do an excellent job,” Bracco said during the Oct. 20, 2009 meeting.

Woodward and Gartman said then they opposed the raise for economic reasons. Woodward declined to comment Monday on Haglund’s recent performance while serving as a member of the recommendation committee.

Leroe-Munoz, however, offered his take.

“Tom has always been very easy to work with. He’s been incredibly responsive to inquiries that I’ve had,” Leroe-Muñoz said. “He’s been tremendously helpful for me. I’ve appreciated his hard work and his expertise.”

When the city hired Haglund from the city of Hanford in 2008 he served as deputy manager for the San Joaquin Valley town of 51,000 located in Kings County. Gilroy officials said they were drawn to Haglund’s jack-of-all-trades resume, which included stints as Hanford’s interim police chief, community development director and municipal airport director.

Tucker said previous city administrators were “strong,” but added there were “a lot of complaints in the community” about the way City Hall was run.

“The way it’s managed now I’m very happy,” she said.

Council members lauded Haglund and City Finance Director Christina Turner for working with them to draft the city’s new two-year budget in May. The budget eliminated City Hall furloughs – instituted in 2010 to cut costs – and touted positive gains in the city’s sales tax base.

The Council breezed through a May 9 budget study session in less than two hours and canceled a second session because they were satisfied with Haglund and Turners’ projections. The Council approved the budget the following week.

“He followed the budget, and he managed it very, very well,” Tucker said. “He makes sure staff presents it to the council in a way that we all can understand it. I think he leads his team very well.”

She added, “As long as he’s on top of what the community needs are – and he follows our direction, I think that’s great.”

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