Puyallup’s interim city manager will continue to run day-to-day operations at city hall for another year, and he’ll get a raise, too.
In a 6-1 vote Jan. 8, the Puyallup City Council extended interim City Manager Bill McDonald’s contract through Dec. 31 and hired him as a full-time employee with about $20,000 more in total compensation.
McDonald, former city administrator in DuPont, will receive a total package of $219,559 in 2013, including an annual base salary of about $153,500.
“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. “He has helped us to save lot of money in the most open budget process that I have been involved with in many years.”
McDonald had been unanimously approved by the council last August to work as interim city manager. He was selected through a search conducted by the Prothman Company and remained Prothman’s contracted employee until last week. His total compensation package under that contract was $194,958.
Council member Kent Boyle cast the dissenting vote last week, saying it would be in the city’s best interest to start a search process for a permanent city manager.
He didn’t want to make a larger financial commitment to a manager who is doing the job as a stopgap.
“I have nothing against Bill McDonald,” Boyle said. “I think he is doing a good job.”
“Our job is to be as conscientious with the city coffers as we are with our checking accounts,” Boyle added. “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 was brought in following the council’s 4-3 vote last summer after Ralph Dannenberg was removed as city manager. The council majority said it had lost trust in Dannenberg, although the minority said he was fired unfairly.
Dannenberg filed a wrongful termination claim against the city in November, citing a loss income of $82,020, plus emotional distress and harm to his reputation. A claim could prelude a lawsuit.
McDonald, 66, lives with his wife in DuPont. He 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. “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 recommended that parks programs with high overhead and a large demand on staff members be pruned.
“I enjoy working with the council, and I think they are all very bright and energetic,” McDonald said.
McDonald worked as city administrator for DuPont for seven years before he retired in June 2010.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.