Puyallup’s interim city manager will continue to run day-to-day operations at City Hall for another year, at a greater cost to the city.
In a 6-1 vote Tuesday night, the Puyallup City Council extended interim City Manager Bill McDonald’s contract through Dec. 31 and hired him as a full-time employee.
“If we have someone who is good and we can keep him for another year, why would we make another change?” Mayor Rick Hansen said Wednesday. “He has helped us to save lot of money in the most open budget process that I have been involved with in many years.”
Council member Kent Boyle was the one dissenting vote. “I have nothing against Bill McDonald. I think he is doing a good job,” Boyle said Wednesday.
But he said he disagrees with the decision to make a larger financial commitment to a manager who is only a stopgap measure.
Boyle said it would be in the city’s best interests to start the search process for a permanent city manager now.
“Our job is to be as conscientious with the city coffers as we are with our checking accounts,” Boyle said. “I don’t think what we did was in the best interest of the citizens of Puyallup because we’re kicking the can down the road.”
McDonald, former city administrator in DuPont, will receive a total compensation package of $219,559 in 2013, including an annual base salary of around $153,500.
In August, he was unanimously approved by the council to work as interim city manager. He was selected through a search conducted by the Prothman Co. and remained Prothman’s contracted employee until Tuesday night. His total compensation package under that contract was $194,958.
McDonald was brought in following the council’s 4-3 vote last summer to remove Ralph Dannenberg as Puyallup city manager. The council majority said it had lost trust in Dannenberg and was going in a different direction, while the minority said he was let go unfairly.
Dannenberg filed a wrongful termination claim against the city in November, citing loss income of $82,020, plus emotional distress and harm to his reputation. A claim could be a prelude to a lawsuit.
McDonald, who is 66 and lives with his wife in DuPont, said he’s happy to stay with Puyallup for another year.
“City Council (is) very supportive of the work I’ve been doing,” McDonald said Wednesday. “I will continue to push hard on organizational management changes and a lean budget.
During the 2013 budget cycle McDonald made recommendations to shake up management in several departments, especially in parks and recreation. He also advised that parks programs with high overhead and high staff demand be pruned.
“I enjoy working with the council, and I think they are all very bright and energetic,” he said.
McDonald worked as city administrator for the City of DuPont for seven years before his retirement in June 2010.