It’s rare that we advocate for public-sector raises in the best of times, and even more unlikely under the current conditions. Generally speaking, private-sector workers aren’t reaping any benefits from the still-sluggish recovery following the Great Recession, and here in Clark County, the taxpaying public also faces a never-ending push to increase taxes on several fronts.
That said, there are instances where a bump in compensation is in order, provided it’s not outlandish and takes into account the taxpayers who have to dig deeper into their pockets to cover the increase. Such is the case with Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell.
As the Review-Journal’s Jane Ann Morrison reported last week, the Las Vegas City Council voted to give Ms. Fretwell a 10 percent increase, from $201,355 annually to $221,490. Ms. Fretwell — promoted to city manager in 2009 — did not get an increase from 2010-12, and by all accounts helped keep the city on firm financial footing during the recession.
Further, while recognizing this is hardly pocket change, the city council exercised some restraint. A survey of 15 cities showed the average city manager salary, adjusted for cost of living, at $258,173, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman urged bringing Ms. Fretwell to $260,000, closer to the midpoint of the survey’s salary ranges — a whopping bump of nearly 30 percent. Councilman Bob Beers smartly overrode the mayor with a far more reasonable proposal. Ms. Fretwell is still below the $225,000 of Henderson City Manager Jacob Snow.
The city deserves credit for its prudence, but as is the case with government at all levels, it must continue working to be a better steward with its citizens’ hard-earned money.