Interim Pierce Transit CEO Jim Walton is being paid an annual salary of $165,000 and will continue to receive that, plus vacation and other benefits, according to contract terms forwarded to the transit board for a final vote.
That’s less than former CEO Lynne Griffith, who left the transit system Sept. 22 to become head of the state ferry system. She had been paid $169,097 yearly since 2008. She also received 25 days of annual personal leave, in addition to three weeks of vacation.
Walton would receive pro-rated vacation of 20 days per year, but no added personal leave.
Non-represented Pierce Transit employees reach 21 days of vacation during their 14th year of employment, agency spokeswoman Carol Mitchell said. That standard does not apply to the CEO because Pierce Transit’s board negotiates benefits for the chief executive officer.
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Walton, 75, has been the transit system’s interim CEO since Sept. 23, after his selection by the agency’s board Sept. 15.
Walton was Tacoma’s city manager — initially as an interim—from 2003 to 2005, before retiring. Prior to that, he had been assistant city manager and deputy city manager.
Pierce Transit’s executive/finance committee,composed of four board members, recommended the contract terms Thursday, subject to Walton’s approval of its language. The full transit board is expected to vote on the contract Oct. 13. At that time, the board also is scheduled to consider executive search firms that could recruit a permanent CEO.
Walton already is being paid at an annual rate of $165,000, which was offered when he took the job. He’s also receiving a $300 monthly car allowance and a contribution of $250 per pay period to his retirement savings plan, both part of the proposed contract.
The amount of his annual salary was based on market data for CEO pay and on Griffith’s salary, Mitchell said. Also, Pierce Transit’s own regulations require the CEO’s annual salary to be at least 5 percent more than the highest-paid salaried employee at the agency, she said. The two top-paid employees are chief administrators who each earn $154,710 annually.
Walton’s initial term would be for 180 days; the agency would have the option to renew the agreement for 30 days at a time. Either Walton or Pierce Transit could terminate the agreement with 14 days notice and without severance pay.
Walton would not fall under the state pension system at Pierce Transit. That’s because he would continue to receive coverage through the city of Tacoma’s plan, Mitchell said.