LV city manager gets raise he didn't want

<b>CORRECTION, 8/7/07:</B> -- A story in Thursday's Review-Journal on government managers' salaries contained an error. North Las Vegas City Manager Gregory Rose's base salary is $194,288.77, putting his pay at the bottom of a list of top local government executives (correction made in chart below).

Here's a new strategy to get a 5 percent raise and a $10,000 bonus: Go into your boss's office and tell him you don't want either.

That's what City Manager Doug Selby did, only to learn Wednesday that his base salary was bumped to $206,064 a year.

Selby had told Mayor Oscar Goodman that he wanted to set a fiscally responsible example for the rest of the city by staying at his $196,252 annual salary. But the council rejected Selby's offer and unanimously gave him the merit raise and bonus.

Goodman and the six other members of the City Council gave Selby glowing praise for his leadership and integrity, though a few said he could improve his communication.

Selby went to Goodman's office about three weeks ago and told the mayor he did not want a raise or a bonus because he wanted to "lead by example" during fiscally trying times, Goodman said.

City tax revenues have been flat recently, and city officials have been preaching fiscal prudence.

But Goodman, who made the motion to give the merit raise and bonus, said he wanted to demonstrate how much the council valued Selby.

"He's one of the most decent, honest, kind, considerate and dedicated persons I've worked with," Goodman said. "You can't put a price tag on that."

Councilman Larry Brown said, "One word comes to mind for Mr. Selby, who is our leader, CEO, and that is 'integrity.'"

Selby acknowledged afterward that he was uncomfortable with the process, which unfolded in public, as required by state law.

"It's generous, and I sincerely appreciate their consideration," he said.

The 1,600 rank-and-file workers represented by the Las Vegas City Employees Association are getting a 3.5 percent raise this year.

"It is what it is," Tommy Ricketts, president of the union, said of Selby's raise.

He declined to elaborate, explaining he had to maintain a good working relationship with Selby and the City Council. He added, though, "The precedent has been set."

Selby, as do other longtime employees, also receives longevity pay, which was 3.5 percent of his base salary last year and which increases to 4 percent this year. That means his pay will be $214,307.

He is completing his fifth year as city manager, overseeing day-to-day operations and most of the city's 3,000 employees.

Selby, City Attorney Brad Jerbic and City Auditor Rad Snelding are the only employees the council directly hires and fires and whose pay is set by the council.

The council also unanimously voted Wednesday to give Jerbic an $8,500 bonus; his $170,117 salary stayed the same. He also received seven days of paid vacation this year on top of the time off he normally accrues.

Snelding received a 5 percent raise, bringing his salary to $136,511, and a $6,500 bonus.

The city hired a consultant in 2006 to compare Las Vegas' top city salaries with other local and major cities.

Selby's salary was 4.7 percent below the average of agencies surveyed; Jerbic's was 3.6 percent higher; and Snelding's was 0.1 percent less.

Selby's salary increase put his base salary over what some other top Nevada officials make, such as Washoe County Manager Katy Singlaub, North Las Vegas City Manager Gregory Rose and Clark County Manager Virginia Valentine.

Valentine, whose base salary is $199,513, is scheduled to get an evaluation Tuesday, Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said.

The county's budget and number of employees far exceeds the city's, Pappa said.

Selby's salary trails the salaries of some other government leaders, including Pat Mulroy, Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager; Rossi Ralenkotter, president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; and Reno City Manager Charles McNeely. McNeely, who makes $246,462 a year, got a $12,000 bonus in April.

Selby gave a presentation touting city accomplishments in the past year, including the opening of the Centennial Hills Community Center, the largest in the state, and efforts to improve accountability among city staff and add performance measures to help with budgeting.

Councilman Steve Wolfson asked Selby what, in hindsight, he would have done differently this past year.

Selby did not give specifics but said he would have improved communication on some labor issues.

Later in the meeting, Brown gave a rare public chastisement to Selby for failing to hammer out a deal with the employees' union over the city's contracting with outside companies.