City Manager Ron LeBlanc will be paid $145,642 in 2009, 7 percent higher than his salary in his first year on the job.
LeBlanc was paid $136,114 in 2008, which was the same salary his predecessor, Bob Ledger, was paid in 2007, his final year. The new salary, which was approved 4-1 by the City Council on Tuesday night, represents two years of approximately 3 percent increases to the city manager's salary. Mayor Renee Parsons cast the dissenting vote.
The item was revisited after being overlooked during recent budget talks.
The manager's salary is part of an annual review conducted by the City Council and is typically not a public discussion. But at Tuesday night's council meeting, Durango resident Chris Paulson asked that the item be removed from the consent agenda in the interest of openness.
Four councilors quickly came to LeBlanc's defense, describing his first year as "fantastic" and "phenomenal." Councilor Leigh Meigs cited a citywide compensation survey conducted last fall during the 2009 budget talks and said keeping LeBlanc's salary competitive is in line with the council's goal to improve employee retention. Several councilors stated that the omission of LeBlanc's salary during the budget talks was an oversight and a December executive session was held to rectify the error.
The compensation survey found that LeBlanc's previous salary was higher than La Plata County Manager Shaun Nau but below city managers in Breckenridge, Grand Junction, Castle Rock, Vail and Steamboat Springs. Even with the increase, LeBlanc's salary is less than Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Keith Owen ($150,000), La Plata Electric Association Chief Executive Greg Munro ($156,000) and Fort Lewis College President Brad Bartel ($234,000).