North Las Vegas city manager’s contract approved

It’s a tough job, but North Las Vegas found someone to do it.

The City Council on Wednesday approved a contract for a new city manager.

Timothy R. Hacker, former city manager of Mesquite, will be paid $180,000 a year plus benefits to take the reins of cash-strapped North Las Vegas.

His contract is somewhat austere compared with that of former City Manager Gregory Rose, a sign of how things have changed because of unprecedented financial difficulties in the city.

Gone are the built-in, twice-yearly cost-of-living raises enjoyed by the former city manager. Gone, too, is any mention of the monthly car allowance he received.

"This is the kind of contract that reflects the times we’re living in," said Juliet Casey, a city spokeswoman.

Rose made $202,060 a year at the time of his resignation in late 2009.

Maryann Ustick, who has been acting city manager, resigned to take a job as city manager in Destin, Fla.

Hacker’s contract also includes a provision that states he will not be paid severance if he is fired "with cause." The provision, which was not included in Rose’s contract, was meant in part to help the city avoid the kind of sticky severance situation its neighboring city to the south recently faced.

Henderson last month agreed to pay its city attorney, Elizabeth Quillin, nearly $100,000 in severance to resign from her job after she was arrested in the middle of a workday on charges of drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident and having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. She later pleaded guilty to DUI-first offense.

Quillin also received $20,000 from the city for her accrued vacation time and 10 months of health insurance coverage.

Quillin’s employment contract narrowly defined the reasons for which she could be fired, and city officials thought the severance deal protected Henderson from what could have been a much larger payout if Quillin were fired and chose to challenge her dismissal.

Hacker’s contract specifies he won’t be paid severance if he is fired for any of a long list of reasons, including committing fraud or embezzlement, being convicted of crimes "of moral turpitude," or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol during work hours "or while on city property or in city vehicles or while performing city duties."

The Mesquite City Council fired Hacker in May without explanation, according to the Mesquite Local News.

Anita Wood was the only council member to vote against the contract, saying she didn’t approve of the way Hacker was hired. The city didn’t advertise the position or interview other candidates.

Hacker holds a master’s degree in public administration from Southern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in community and regional planning from Iowa State University.

He takes the reins at a difficult time for North Las Vegas, which has undergone round after round of budget cuts and layoffs in recent years.

City managers in Henderson and Las Vegas earn $225,000 and $180,000 a year in base pay, respectively. The Clark County manager earns a base salary of $199,285.

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