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– A positive City Council review has netted a 5-percent boost in
pay for City Manager Jay Baksa.
GILROY – A positive City Council review has netted a 5-percent boost in pay for City Manager Jay Baksa.

After meeting in a closed-session performance review, Council voted unanimously Monday to grant Baksa an extra $7,800 this year toward his deferred compensation, or retirement. The amount represents roughly 5 percent of Baksa’s $156,264 annual base salary and comes in addition to the roughly $11,000 he currently receives in funding for retirement.

“Gentlemen, I thank you very much,” Baksa said after the vote, which came after 11 p.m. near the end of a marathon six-hour Council meeting.

Because the vote is based on a performance review made in closed-session under the Brown Act, Mayor Tom Springer said he couldn’t reveal details about how Baksa met specific rankings or parameters. However, he said the city administrator had done “very well” in implementing a list of directives issued by Council.

“Overall, the Council rated Jay as a very effective city administrator,” Springer said. “He’s well-respected by his peers, very conscientious to detail, (shows) astute financial management and (runs) a progressive administration in terms of anticipating and addressing problems beforehand rather than reacting to them.”

Councilman Al Pinheiro also said there was a “very positive, favorable reaction” to Baksa’s work. Although the increased pay comes during slow economic times, he said the economic slump gives leaders an opportunity to be thankful for Baksa’s financial discipline.

“He’s been very prudent on how he addresses things, and I think a lot has to be said for his way of approaching finances,” Pinheiro said. “Even though some of us at times may not like it, it’s like having your mom or dad tell you the budget just doesn’t give, and you have to work things through.

“It’s been a very positive thing he brings to the city.”

Baksa joined the city administration in 1983 and will celebrate his 20th anniversary come July. The longevity is fairly unusual for the position, which often sees city managers depart – or be issued their walking papers – after just a handful of years.

Baksa recently was named “Man of the Year” by the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, where officials credited him for his community service and what they called “a phenomenal job” keeping the city financially healthy.

Baksa is a longtime member of the city’s Rotary Club, coaches Gilroy High varsity volleyball and junior varsity basketball teams and chairs Leadership Gilroy, a program that prepares citizens for leadership roles in the community.

In 1998, he was named “Outstanding Public Administrator” by the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration and received an “Outstanding Volunteer” award the following year from the California Parks and Recreation Society.

Baksa said the past year was productive and interesting because much of the city’s work centered around “foundational” items that will set the stage for the next few years.

On the planning side, he said that work included adoption of the city’s overall land-use policy document, the General Plan, as well as the issuance of most of the city’s building permits for the next decade under its growth-control law, the Residential Development Ordinance.

The city also laid the groundwork for several individual capital projects, ranging from a new joint-partnership gymnasium at Ascension Solorsano Middle School to the new sports park in south Gilroy.

“It was kind of a neat year because from a tangible view of what occurred, it’s like a farmer putting the seeds in the ground,” he said. “The staff and Council all worked very, very hard this year, and there was an enormous amount of meeting time.”

Baksa received a $2,500 boost in his salary and equal-sized increase in deferred compensation last year. He also received a 6-percent increase in retirement compensation in 2000 and a 5-percent salary boost in 1998.

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