Politics & Government

With a $9,000 raise, City Manager T.C. Broadnax becomes Tacoma’s second-highest-paid employee

Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax
Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax Staff file, 2012

Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax got a raise of $9,226 and a call to prepare for growth when the City Council approved a new contract for him Tuesday.

The agreement raises his base pay to $252,544, up from $243,318 in 2015. He joined the city from San Antonio in 2012 with a salary of $221,000.

The council approved the new, two-year contract for Broadnax at its meeting Tuesday night.

“This raise is well deserved,” Mayor Marilyn Strickland said. She pointed to accomplishments such as arranging a contract for McMenamins to renovate Old City Hall, as well as coordinating police reforms called Project Peace.

She noted that Broadnax’s new salary remains lower than what’s paid to executives at Tacoma Public Utilities, the Port of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Schools.

“This is based on performance, and if you look at the performance evaluation he received, it went very well,” Strickland said.

Broadnax’s salary was the third highest in city government last year, behind Tacoma Public Utilities Director Bill Gaines at $338,000 and TPU deputy director Theodore Coates at $262,000. Coates retired last summer and was succeeded by Chris Robinson, who earns $249,517.

His raise comes at a time when Tacoma is on more stable financial footing than when he came to the city, but still anticipating a multimillion dollar deficit when it begins its two-year budget planning next month.

When Broadnax began his job as city manager, the city had a $31 million deficit that compelled it to lay off staff and ask unions to defer raises.

Council members say that likely won’t be the case this year. They’re eager to grow programs including law enforcement and economic development efforts now that they believe the worst of the recession’s fallout has passed.

“Let’s focus on the basics more — infrastructure, crime prevention, emergency response and ability to better serve our community,” one council member wrote in Broadnax’s review.

Looking back, the council praised Broadnax for helping Tacoma navigate its way out of the recession. They cite financial organization as one of his greatest strengths.

They also rated him highly for the initiative he shows in leading the city and in balancing the competing interests of his nine bosses on the council.

“T.C.’s expertise and management in budget literally saved our city over the last few (two-year budgets). The city is now on more stable financial footing and continues to exceed its goals for cash reserves. This good news, however, has not made the city manager complacent,” the nine City Council members wrote in a joint performance review that they were set to approve Tuesday night.

Recently, the council has approved several labor agreements that call for fairly modest raises.

Firefighters in July received a 4.3 percent raise in a contract that also allows them 2 percent raises through 2017. A group of about 120 electrical workers in February accepted a contract that netted them raises of 1.1 percent to 2.5 percent through 2018.

Broadnax’s raise is about 3.8 percent. His contract does not guarantee him a raise every year.

His next tasks center on shoring up several public safety benchmarks, such as reducing property crimes and accelerating emergency medical response times.

He’ll be asked to execute a voter-approved road repair program and take steps to improve collaboration with other local governments.

With revenue climbing, council members “now want to see us take it to the next level,” Broadnax said.

“I look forward to working not just with the council, but also with the citizens,” he said, on carrying out on a planning document the council adopted last year with feedback from residents called Tacoma 2025.

Council members are also asking Broadnax to take a greater role in guiding TPU. They wrote in his job review that they make the final decisions on many TPU issues, such as utility rate increases and large purchases.

“By tracking TPU’s budget more often, it will allow for better understanding of major citywide decisions,” the council wrote.

Broadnax’s new contract runs through February 2018. He’ll receive severance pay worth one year of his salary if the council fires him before then.


Adam Ashton: 253-597-8646, @TNTMilitary

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