On its third attempt, the Chesterfield City Council gave final approval to an ordinance granting City Administrator Mike Geisel a 2-percent pay increase effective Jan. 1, 2018.
The 5-3 vote, with five votes being the minimum needed for passing an ordinance, came at the March 5 council meeting. The measure had been up for approval at two earlier meetings after a January closed-door performance evaluation session when the council endorsed the salary hike, also on a 5-3 vote.
Action initially was delayed when the council failed to approve a change in its rules to allow the required two readings of the ordinance at the same meeting. Later, the vote was postponed due to two councilmembers being absent.
Based on the March 5 vote, the pay increase ordinance would not have received the required five votes for passage due to the absences at the late February meeting.
Councilmembers Tom DeCampi and Michelle Ohley [both of Ward 4] and Ben Keathley [Ward 2] opposed the pay hike but said they had no complaints about Geisel’s performance since his appointment as city administrator in August 2016.
“This is about the taxpayer,” DeCampi asserted after presenting data that he said showed the average annual pay of the top administrators in the 14 largest cities in the state is $156,000, $14,000 below Geisel’s $170,000 salary before any increase.
Geisel’s compensation should be based on the value of the job in the marketplace, not on how much he has saved in budget-cutting efforts, DeCampi said. Keathley added that he had received two emails questioning the suggested increase for Geisel in light of revenue declines and his current pay being higher than average.
But Councilmember Barbara McGuinness [Ward 1] said achieving budget cuts and other efficiencies were part of the job the council had asked Geisel to do, and she applauded his success in those efforts.
While also complimenting Geisel’s performance, Councilmember Dan Hurt [Ward 3] noted it was important to him to have “someone I can trust” in the city administrator’s position.
Hurt and McGuinness, along with councilmembers Barry Flachsbart [Ward 1], Guy Tilman [Ward 2] and Randy Logan [Ward 3], supported the pay increase.
With the 2-percent hike, Geisel’s salary now is $173,400.