Interim City Manager Receives Big Pay Hike
By Taylor Stevens
West Jordan - In the midst of a year of instability surrounding the hasty resignation of West Jordan’s former city manager, and on the cusp of appointing someone to permanently take that position, the city approved a salary increase for interim city manager Bryce Haderlie—a wage that will remain even if he isn’t hired for the position.
The council approved the raise—which will mean a salary increase from $115,000 a year to around $130,000— in a 5-2 vote at its Aug. 12 meeting.
The agreement also includes a bonus at the end of Haderlie’s employment as interim city manager—compensation for filling that position in addition to his prior responsibilities as assistant city manager for nearly a year.
“There’s nothing like being able to negotiate your wage and benefits in front of the entire city,” Haderlie joked as he discussed his raise before the dais.
Haderlie’s pay hike was indeed talked down from his original proposal, which called for a pay increase of $44,000.
Haderlie took over the position of interim city manager in August of last year, after former city manager Rick Davis abruptly resigned amidst lawsuit allegations brought forward by a city employee.
When Haderlie took over, he said he did not request a raise because “we were trying to work on wages for all of our employees and I did not want to in any way, shape or form cause confusion for employees that I was trying to take any income above and beyond myself, when we needed to take care of our other employees.”
The timing of the raise, coming just weeks before the city is expected to appoint a new city manager, was questioned by Mayor Kim Rolfe and Councilmember Chris McConnehey, who both voted against the raise, as well as by residents.
“It seems kind of odd that you would give him a raise just before you’re about to pick a city manager,” West Jordan resident Kathy Hilton said during the public comments portion of the meeting. “The timing just seems off to me.”
Rolfe and McConnehey also voiced concern that compensating Haderlie for work done outside of his employment grade would set a dangerous precedent to do the same for similar situations across the city. Haderlie himself recognized that many city employees are not and have not been compensated for work done outside of their grade.
“Unless we are willing to fix all inequalities in the city, I’m unwilling to do this at this time,” Rolfe said, voting in opposition to the motion.
Councilmember Jeff Haaga said that the pay raise the council eventually approved was consistent and comparable to what other cities close to the size of West Jordan pay their assistant city managers, and he praised Haderlie’s work for the city, along with Councilmember Ben Southworth.
“You’ve taken all of that weight on your shoulders,” Southworth said. “You have done an excellent job, and that pay needs to reflect that.”
Haderlie said that in the year he’s taken on the position of interim city manager, in addition to his assistant position, he has consistently worked well over 40 hours per week.
As Haderlie finished negotiating his proposal before the city, he said, “I just want to again state, all I am asking for is to create some balance to ask for a wage within the assistant city manager range that I feel is fair.”