VANCOUVER — Members of the Vancouver City Council unanimously voted to approve a 7.9 percent raise for City Manager Eric Holmes on Monday night. The raise came as a result of an annual evaluation of Holmes’ performance as city manager.
The vote approved an addendum to the City Manager Employment Agreement that increased Holmes’ annual salary by $17,502, from $221,550 to $239.052. The increase follows a 5.5 percent raise for Holmes last year and a 17 percent raise in 2014.
Each year, members of the Vancouver City Council are required to evaluate the performance of the city manager and determine potential compensation changes. During July and August, Holmes’ performance was examined and members of the city council reported the result was largely favorable.
Council Member Jack Burkman said that Holmes serves as the city’s chief executive officer, and that skilled managers such as Holmes that will be in the workforce for some time to come are “becoming very sought after because so many experienced, skilled managers are retiring.”
Burkman said that “it is very important that an organization pay their leaders in a way that they retain them.”
Burkman also said that Holmes’ new salary is comparable to similar positions in the private sector and for other city managers in the state of Washington. It is less than the salaries for the city managers of Bellevue and Tacoma, two cities that are of similar size to Vancouver, Burkman said.
The need for retention of Holmes due to his positive performance was echoed by other members of the city council. Regarding the cost of the raise on city budgets, Councilor Alishia Topper said that it would cost the city more money to find and recruit a new city manager than the costs the wage increase would incur.
“This is a really great return on investment for our citizens to retain the quality city manager we have,” Topper said.
At the meeting, Council Member Ty Stober noted that the evaluation found areas that Holmes could improve, but that these areas for improvement were far outweighed by the list of Holmes’ accomplishments as city manager.
Council Member Anne McEnerny-Ogle said that the city of Vancouver had a balanced budget due to Holmes’ efforts. Mayor Timothy Leavitt offered similar statements of approval for Holmes and the job he has done.
“The city is on a fantastic trajectory,” Leavitt said, “and it’s largely because of the leadership of our city manager.”
No citizens testified at the meeting. After remarks from council members, Leavitt presided over a vote to approve the salary increase for Holmes. The increase was unanimously supported by all council members.
Holmes has held the position of city manager for the city of Vancouver since November 2010. As city manager, it is Holmes’ job to create biennial budgets, provide advice to the members of the city council on policy issues, and manage city departments in accordance with the policies of the city council.
A staff report on the pay increase indicated there were funds available in the $500 million annual budget to accommodate the raise.
The city manager is appointed to the position by the members of the Vancouver City Council.