Was Penny Ballem's salary increase spiked?
On Thursday, CityCaucus.com learned from a source that City Manager Penny Ballem was to receive a salary increase based upon her annual performance review. Since then, the Mayor's office has been working hard to assure media that the City Manager is NOT getting a raise.
What is not clear at this stage is the sequence of events. We know that Ballem qualifies for a raise this week, a full one-year after her employment with the City began. All staff, including senior management, would be entitled to a 4% salary increase this year per the settlement given to CUPE workers after their 2007 strike.
We are unclear, however, when the decision was made to forgo Ballem's pay increase. We do not know if the raise was spiked because the news became public. We contacted Coun. Suzanne Anton about the raise late yesterday, and she said she was unaware of any decision about a salary change for Ballem.
To date, Ballem has made no attempt to "set an example" to City staff by announcing she would forgo her annual pay increase. Had she done so weeks ago, it would have been a golden opportunity to show leadership to City Hall's rank and file, and quashed any rumours to the contrary.
Ballem's employment contract in section 1.3 specifies that each year after her start date of December 12th she is entitled to this review:
At least once per year while this agreement is in effect, the parties will review the performance of Dr. Ballem as City Manager in relation to previously established metrics, priority, goals, and activities (together, the "Performance Targets") and the City Manager and the Mayor of the City will mutually establish Performance Targets for the following year.
Penny Ballem's base salary is $303,958, which can be "modified" (section 3.1) on occasion according to city policy. We also know from her MSP billings as a medical doctor that she earned at least $34,686.46 before March 31, 2009.
As we reported last month, managers at the Hall are being asked to consider foregoing a scheduled 4% pay increase due to tough times. Union staff have not been approached about making a similar compromise.
On Thursday night Dr. Ballem was listening to the public until 11:30pm about their dismay and unhappiness about city council's proposed cuts to services, staff and facilities. It's unlikely that if the City Manager received a raise in the face of all this financial turmoil that it would be received well by her colleagues or the voting public.
What surprises us the most in all this is that the discussion about whether Ballem is getting a pay increase or not is happening on a blog, and not coming from Ballem herself.
- Post by Mike